REESE WITHERSPOON   SOFIA VERGARA

HOT PURSUIT

 Just when you thought it was safe to accept Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon back into the pool of actors - turning their sinking career around… Ok, she still gets credit for her recent nominated performance in Wild and producing Gone Girl, but Hot Pursuit is a step backwards for the actress. She might be a hit on television but Sofia Vergara is turning out to be the female version of Kevin James on the big screen. Sure there are a handful of laughs, mostly thanks to Vergara’s nutty accept and cartoon like behavior, but this female action comedy loses all its respect in the first few minutes over a police car and a cell phone. Can we not have a female action comedy that is funny, witty and intelligent, is that really too much to ask?

 Cooper’s task was fairly simple, escort Danielle Riva (Vergara) safely to Dallas, to testify against the most dangerous drug cartel boss captured in the US. Cooper (Witherspoon) lives to serve the law, has dreamed of the badge and gun since childhood, however one unfortunate incident in the field has left her in the basement watching over the evidence room. The escort isn’t off to a great start after her partner and Riva’s husband are killed. Unable to trust her own department, Cooper must break the rules she adheres to so closely in order to get the vivacious and high strung Riva to Dallas before they both get killed. They find themselves in the back of a stinky pickup truck, asking a criminal for help all while constantly testing who has the upper hand in the arrangement.

 The Heat, Miss Congeniality 2, and Tammy were all promising female duo flicks that got lazy after the casting was complete. Hot Pursuit suffers the same fate, in the moment Cooper chucks the keys from a perfectly equipt police car with a radio she desperately needs in favor of a classic convertible car which of course fails the vixens a couple miles down the road. The second moment showcasing a clear lack of creativity occurs when Cooper destroys not one, but two cell phones, which could have aided her cause.  I get it, these films are supposed to be fun, and forgettable, like fast food your great as soon as the last bite enters your mouth. But shouldn’t we at least be able to enjoy the ride a little bit without having our intelligence insulted in every scene?

 The script has about two jokes on constant replay, Cooper is short, Riva uses her body to get what she wants. The redundancy and predictability of the plot ruins any type of suspense or necessity to watch the jokes go from bad to worse. There are funny moments that might work more in a SNL skit, mostly thanks to the buffoonery Vergara provides, but it’s not even close to being worth the ticket price. Witherspoon’s reenactment of Sandra Bullock’s Gracie Hart is consistently second rate, as is the supporting cast. Making matters worse, Hot Pursuit is a rare film with two female leads directed by a woman, which does nothing but insult females with crude humor and sexuality. Witherspoon is better than this material, while Vergara’s future in film remains to be seen, at least from a quality standpoint.

 Final Thought – This pursuit goes cold before it even gets started.

 Grade C-

By: Dustin Chase