Hot Pursuit Blu-ray Review
A cop and criminal on the run story is a tried and true formula for moderate box office success. A riff on the odd couple scenario, all you really need to make the movie entertaining is a zany character and a straight laced counterpart getting into all kinds of trouble. But maybe the story has been done so many times or maybe I’m just jaded, but nothing about HOT PURSUIT works and the terrible acting, burnt out plot and complete lack of comedy made this a terrible take on a genre filled with average films.
When it comes down to it, I blame the failure of HOT PURSUIT on the success of THE HEAT. THE HEAT was not a good movie, but it found success by simply taking a genre usually reserved for male actors and replacing them with well known female actresses. Essentially, that’s what HOT PURSUIT did. But while THE HEAT had the humor of Melissa McCarthy and the charm of Sandra Bullock, HOT PURSUIT had the annoyance of Reese Witherspoon and, well, the annoyance of Sofia Vergara in the lead roles. Not that any pair of actresses could have saved this, but five minutes into HOT PURSUIT and I really wanted both of them to get a horrible case of laryngitis.
The story is exactly what the trailers told you; Cooper (Witherspoon) has to protect Daniella (Vergara) after the cartel and some crooked cops try to assassinate her. That sets them on a road trip where they have to avoid the bad guys and come to terms with each other’s differences. The idea is that Cooper is a straight and narrow, by the books type of cop and Daniella is a free-spirited, superficial bimbo. Of course, humor erupts as the two cultures clash. But every joke is telegraphed and no easy targets are left untouched. Cooper looks like a boy, so of course we get a scene with Reese dressing up like a boy. Daniella has large breasts, so of course things get hidden in her chest throughout the movie. The film is littered with more examples that make even the most jaded audience member shake their head.
Reese Witherspoon is a fine actress. She deserved her Oscar and has given some great performances over her career. But she’s not funny. LEGALLY BLONDE is the reference for her humor and maybe ELECTION, but those were a long time ago and she doesn’t have the comedic timing anymore, assuming you feel she ever had it. But as bad as she is in HOT PURSUIT, she doesn’t even compare to Sofia Vergara. Vergara has some great, funny moments in ‘Modern Family’, but she’s not a good actress. Aside from her lack of funny lines, she delivered everything poorly, following up every failed line with a look that felt like she was asking someone if that was what she was supposed to say. And I know she has her fans around the world, but how is her shtick not offensive and why does she have to deliver every line like she’s a whiney 5 year-old?
Having women play parts traditionally for men, or vice versa, is a gimmick, not a license to make a movie. It doesn’t matter what sex or race is playing a particular part, you still have to have a good premise, fun script and lead actors that have some sort of chemistry. Unfortunately for HOT PURSUIT, it lacked everything a good film needed and the result is a very painful and awkward movie to get through.
Video: HOT PURSUIT received a great Blu-ray transfer.
Audio: The audio was fine.
Featurettes (9:17): Three featurettes here cover some fun hijinks on the set as well as some behind the scenes footage. Each feature is too brief to offer any real insight, but it looks like the cast and crew had a good time making the film.
Alternate Ending (1:27): Instead of the post-prison scene, we get a news montage of various bit characters discussing the ladies. It’s more of a throwaway scene and wouldn’t have made much of an impression on the overall film.