** (out of 5)
May 8, 2015
Reese Witherspoon as COOPER
Sofia Vergara as DANIELLA RIVA
Matthew Del Negro as DETECTIVE HAUSER
Michael Mosley as DETECTIVE DIXON
Robert Kazinsky as RANDY
Richard T. Jones as DETECTIVE JACKSON
Joaquin Cosio as VINCENTE CORTEZ
John Carroll Lynch as CAPTAIN EMMETT
Studio: Warner Bros.
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
When you look at the movies that Reese Witherspon was in last year – including the wannabe significant feel-good “The Good Lie,” the art house darling “Inherent Vice” and the award-bait Oscar grab “Wild” – it’s hard to believe the next project she’d find herself in would be a run-of-the-mill buddy road comedy like “Hot Pursuit.”
The film itself is as formulaic as they come, with the only real twist being the stars are two women rather than two men. Seriously, this is the kind of thing you’d have expected David Spade and Chris Farley to do in the 90s. I’d be tempted to say that doing a movie like this is below Witherspoon, but then I remember her roots in movies like “Legally Blonde,” and I realize she’s just trying to capture a bit of her youth here.
In “Hot Pursuit,” Witherspoon plays an overly zealous police officer who has been tapped to escort the wife (Sofia Vergara) of a drug cartel money launderer to testify against the kingpin. However, when she arrives on the scene, they are attacked by assassins and later pursued by crooked cops. These two very different women have to learn to rely on each other to survive.
To say that “Hot Pursuit” is predictable is an understatement. Much of the movie is telegraphed moment-by-moment, and even when there are supposed to be surprises – whether they be a specific joke or a huge plot twist. Still, Witherspoon manages to come across well in the film. She’s cute and very adorable in the movie, able to play awkward and uptight without her natural beauty torpedoing this manufactured reality.
It’s just unfortunate that she’s paired up with Vergara. I know that many guys out there find her sizzling hot, and there are two huge reasons why they forgive her annoying delivery. However, I can only take so much of Vergara, and I reached my limit around the second season of “Modern Family.”
Sadly, Vergara doubles down on her screeching and obnoxiousness, making most scenes featuring her simply excruciating. Seriously, any time that woman opened her mouth in the movie, I felt like fleeing to the exits. No amount of triple Ds can make me enjoy this woman’s comedy.
So, I’m at odds with myself with this movie. It’s not a smart film by any stretch of the imagination, but Witherspoon certainly gives it her all. In particular, there’s a scene at the end where she delivers a Amy Poehler-style visual gag that did have me chuckling. However, I couldn’t stand her co-star.
There are a couple laughs in the film, and I know I’m biased by finding very little about Vergara funny anymore. There are also plenty of times where jokes fall flat and never quite work, but that’s just what you get with substandard writing for a formulaic comedy that’s not meant to be anything more than week-old counter-programming to “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”
Just as how much a person would like the “Cars” films was directly impacted on his or her opinion of Larry the Cable Guy, a person’s appreciation of this film correlates with one’s annoyance level with Vergara. For me, it’s pretty miserable.