Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Sofía Vergara, Matthew Del Negro, John Carroll Lynch
Last year Paul Feig delivered the perfect female comedy duo in Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock, and whilst The Heat was flawed, the casting was spot on. Anne Fletcher is the latest director to have a stab at the oestrogen-fuelled double act, with very similar results. Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara might make an ace on-screen team but they’re only as funny as the script, which in the case of road-trip comedy Hot Pursuit, just isn’t very funny at all.
Witherspoon stars as Officer Cooper, an uptight and straight-laced police officer tasked with protecting two federal witnesses due to give evidence against a dangerous drug baron. When one of the witnesses is murdered, Cooper suspects foul play in the force and her only option is to go on the run with Vergara’s newly widowed and incredibly spirited Daniella Riva. The two women are polar opposites but they only have each other to rely on as they race across Texas with murderers and cops on their tail.What ensues is a series of outlandish obstacles that pit the two women against the bad guys and against each other. From evading Cooper’s crooked male colleagues by describing the inner workings of a woman’s menstrual cycle, to crawling through a field at night dressed like a deer, the duo discover that the only common ground they share is the desire to survive and get the job done; Cooper’s law enforcement and Riva’s revenge.
To say that Hot Pursuit is completely devoid of laughs would be unfair but these sorts of lightweight comedies rely on laugh out loud jokes and clever one-liners, something this film is severely lacking. The action is fun and there are scenes that raise a small smile – Vergara and Witherspoon’s verbal slanging match in Spanish for example – but too much of the dialogue just feels forced and awkward.In portraying the unemotional, by-the-book cop, the usually superb Witherspoon renders herself completely boring for most of the film. Vergara’s outspoken and vivacious Riva is at the other end of the spectrum and the Colombian actress completely overshadows her more seasoned co-star. They bounce off each other well, though it’s all a little predictable and unexciting.
The film gets marginally better towards the end, as the actresses’ chemistry starts to shine through and the characters shed their stereotypical skins, but it’s not enough to make Hot Pursuit anything more than a one-watch movie.