Magazine article Screen International

'Hot Pursuit': Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Hot Pursuit': Review

Article excerpt

Dir: Anne Fletcher. US. 2015. 87mins

Hot Pursuit is as generic and unmemorable as its title, giving viewers the unpleasant experience of watching two normally funny actresses bickering interminably - or, at least, for 87 minutes. Although Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara do have their fleetingly amusing moments, this road-trip buddy comedy feels like it rolled offthe cliché assembly line, offering wan laughs and familiar setups. Hot Pursuit isn't actively terrible, but The Proposal director Anne Fletcher has constructed it with such sitcom blandness that it feels less like a movie and more like a time-killing distraction - a sketch of an idea of a potentially funny film which no one bothered developing.

Opening May 8 in North America ahead of an international rollout which culminates in the UK on July 31, this Warner Bros. release will bank on Witherspoon's commercial viability, as well as audiences' familiarity with Vergara from her work on the popular sitcom Modern Family. Hot Pursuit will have to maximize its box office, serving as counterprogramming against Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Mad Max: Fury Road in the US before facing direct competition May 15 from Pitch Perfect 2. Theatrical prospects look only modest, with home video perhaps a better bet.

Hot Pursuit's main characters are a predictable study in contrasts. When we meet Cooper (Witherspoon), she's a mild-mannered, straight-arrow San Antonio cop who is stuck behind a desk after she accidentally Tasered an innocent civilian. (She thought when he yelled "Shotgun!" that he actually had a concealed weapon - not that he was telling his friends he wanted to sit in the passenger seat of their car.) Buttoned-down Cooper is assigned to escort the short-fused, sexy Daniella Riva (Vergara) to Dallas while her mobster husband testifies against a drug kingpin. But when Daniella's husband is murdered and Cooper discovers that crooked policemen are in cahoots with the kingpin, the two women go on the run.

Written by David Feeney and John Quaintance, Hot Pursuit goes down a familiar road: Cooper and Riva clash because of their differing personalities and cultural backgrounds, their contentiousness meant to produce plentiful comedic sparks. Fletcher has some experience with this kind of opposites-attract humour from The Proposal and The Guilt Trip - even Step Up paired unlikely lovers from different sides of the tracks - but Hot Pursuit does little to enliven stereotypical characters. …

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