Hot Pursuit (2015) Movie Review: Fails to Sizzle

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: each time a character says, “Cooper.”

Take a Drink: every time there is a close-up of Vergara’s cleavage.

Take a Drink: every time there is a gunshot.

Do a Shot: when you see the Longhorn tattoo.

Shotgun a Beer: when Cooper is dressed up like Justin Bieber.

Or is it Amanda Bynes in She's the Man?

Or is it Amanda Bynes in She’s the Man?

Community Review

How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Movie Review

By: Amelia Solomon (Five Beers) –

Hot Pursuit is a female buddy comedy about an inexperienced desk cop who gets stuck escorting the wife of a key witness, who’s set to testify against the kingpin of a major drug cartel, from San Antonio to Dallas, Texas.  Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) is assigned to accompany a United States Marshall in transporting the witness and his wife, Daniella Riva (Sofia Vergara), because by law or script convenience a woman can only escort a woman.  When Cooper and the Marshall show up at the Riva’s home, they are ambushed by two sets of gunmen, who kill both Riva’s husband and the Marshall.  Thinking on her feet, Cooper helps Daniella escape, and the two set out towards Dallas.  Unfortunately for them, a set of dirty cops reports them as fugitives and they must evade both the police and the Cartel gunmen during their trek.  What ensues involves two women who dislike each other but need to rely on one another in order to stay alive.

They can't even have a good time with one another when doused in cocaine.

They can’t even have a good time with one another when doused in cocaine.

A Toast

There were three things this film did right.  The script followed proper story structure, in that there was actually a plotline, something that last year’s Tammy road trip buddy comedy forgot to incorporate.  With three clear acts, an opening hook, inciting incident, darkest moment, and climax, the film hit all its marks.  Secondly, the film’s length was just right for a comedy.  Clocking in at just less than 90 minutes, I found myself extremely grateful that I didn’t have to suffer through an additional thirty minutes of unfunny tedious hi-jinks.   Third, Reese Witherspoon can act.  Whether it’s acting like a virgin in Cruel Intentions, an overachieving sycophant in Election, a sorority girl bimbo in Legally Blonde, the earnest wife of Johnny Cash in Walk The Line, or recovered drug addict divorcee Cheryl Strayed in Wild, she’s always appealing.  Although I’m disappointed that her follow-up to Wild, which she received an Oscar nomination for, is this abomination, I can’t fault her for nailing her character.  Playing an uptight, by the book police woman who’s never crossed the line and refuses to ever bend the law, she’s believable as Cooper.

I'll forgive you, Reese, for this film transgression.

I’ll forgive you, Reese, for this film transgression.

Beer Two

There’s a reason this film is titled Hot Pursuit.  It’s a double entendre in that the woman fleeing from the law is hot.  With a tanned curvaceous body and boobs that steal every frame, it’s obvious Sofia Vergara is hot.  Add in a Latin American accent, and most men can probably overlook her lack of acting talent.  But what I saw was a woman who relies on pouting, stamping her feet, and general disinterest to get through an entire film.  Granted her character, Daniella, is supposed to be bitchy and shallow, but Vergara gives not one redeeming quality to her and this means that as a viewer I’m completely uninvested in her fate.  Meaning, I don’t care if she gets killed by the Cartel, because frankly, she’s a jerk and she’s awfully mean to Reese (I mean Cooper).

There’s one scene in particular that made me cringe.  Daniella is upset by something Cooper does, and she opens her mouth wide and lets out a loud wail.  It reminded me of what Lucille Ball used to do when she wouldn’t get her way with Ricky in I Love Lucy episodes.  That made me realize I watched someone attempting to do a weird Lucy Ball impression, and I asked myself, “Dear God, why?”

Is this what they call method acting these days?

Is this what they call method acting these days?

Beer Three

As with many comedies, there are often places in which the characters get to insert exposition.  In other words, they try to let the audience in on why they are who they are and why they do the things they do.  Both Cooper and Daniella have moments where they open up to one another and attempt to appear human and give layers to their characters.  Unfortunately, these moments in this film don’t work.  Because the comedy is so silly, it feels completely uneven when Cooper talks about her dead father and Daniella about her murdered brother.  This is clearly not a dramedy, so all melodrama should have been cut.  It’s hard for me to fathom why Director Anne Fletcher let these moments go unchecked.

Hot Pursuit Violins

Beer Four

I love a film that ties up loose ends and brings a solid conclusion, which Hot Pursuit does.  But in order to get its tidy ending, it leaves a lot out.  The last scene with Cooper and Daniella on the run involves them hijacking a senior citizen bus tour and crashing it into a road construction site.  There is a slight twist after this and the following scene is Cooper in Dallas being commended by her boss for doing the right thing and being told all charges against her were dropped.  Wait a minute.  Say what?  I shook my head and scoffed at the fact that the film literally skipped an entire scene that should have gone before this one.  It’s like Fletcher was so concerned with delivering a tight little package, she forgot to put the gift inside.

F U, Russel Stover.

F U, Russell Stover.

Beer Five

Lastly, what is a female comedy without a lesbian moment?  Unique.  Unfortunately, Hot Pursuit chose to give its male viewers a cheap thrill and create a scene in which Cooper and Daniella pretend to be in a relationship in order to distract a man who wants to call the cops on them for trespassing.  But what’s even stranger is that the two women engage in a soap opera-type stage kiss, and don’t even attempt to really kiss.  I mean if you’re going to come to the table, bring your A game.  It’s an egregious embarrassment to all lesbian make-out scenes that have come before this one.

Wild Things this is not.

Wild Things this is not.

Verdict

Hot Pursuit is like a developmentally challenged version of The Heat. Witherspoon and Vergara are no Bullock and McCarthy, and Anne Fletcher is no Paul Feig.  For those that just want to see Vergara, binge watch Modern Family instead.

5Beers1

Last Call

Stay for the credits to watch outtakes with Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara.  These short scenes, played over the credits, are way funnier than the entire film that came before it.

About Amelia Solomon

Forever mystified by 80's flick, "Just One of the Guys", it was only a natural progression that I'd end up reviewing films for MovieBoozer. I reside in Los Angeles, where I spend my time critiquing films and TV shows and writing television scripts . Feel free to comment on my reviews. Movieboozer is a humor website and drinking games are intended for entertainment purposes only, please drink responsibly.

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