Hot Pursuit - Disastrously Unfunny

Matthew Parkinson | 8 May 2015 12:00
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Directed by Anne Fletcher. Produced by Dana Fox, Bruna Papandrea, and Reese Witherspoon. Written by David Feeney and John Quaintance. Release date: May 8, 2015.

The question one has coming out of Hot Pursuit is this: How did two people as talented as Reese Witherspoon and SofĂ­a Vergara agree to both star and produce a movie as terrible as this one? While not the worst comedy of 2015 - Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 takes that prize, and even Unfinished Business and Hot Tub Time Machine 2 are worse than this - Hot Pursuit is a disastrously unfunny movie that fails to even begin to showcase the talents of either leading lady - even if it does frequently showcase the "assets" (in a PG-13 manner of speaking) of at least one of them.

It's possible that the project was doomed from the start. Witherspoon hasn't been in a good comedy in over a decade - she's had a few attempts, but they've all been varying degrees of horrible - while Vergara hasn't been in a good comedy ... possibly ever. Outside of Chef, which she was barely in, take a look at her filmography and try to point out a genuinely good film, let alone a good comedy. She's known for Modern Family, a comedy television show of which I'm not a fan, and outside of that she hasn't really been in many quality productions. Hot Pursuit takes two people who aren't particularly funny and tries to makes them deliver stupid jokes. It's really not a surprise that it didn't work.

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The plot, what little there is, sees Witherspoon as a by-the-book cop who gets tasked with escorting Vergara to a hearing in which she'll deliver testimony that will put a drug dealer away for life. Cartel members, corrupt cops, and a complete lack of cooperation stand in the way of this goal. Hot Pursuit is like one long buddy chase movie, except you never think there's even a chance they'll get caught and we stop every once in a while to make a joke about how Witherspoon is short and Vergara is old.

I wish I was kidding when I say that, but the short/old jokes are some of the most prominent running gags of Hot Pursuit. The rest of the comedy isn't any smarter. This is a movie whose jokes and gags feel like they assault your intelligence at every step. I cringed more often than I laughed during the film, more because it was embarrassing to see talent like Witherspoon and Vergara stooping to this level. This is the type of movie that you might expect Cameron Diaz or Katherine Heigl to do. Witherspoon is an Oscar nominee! She was in Election! Why would she do this?

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