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Review: Hot Pursuit

Hot Pursuit
05.07.2015
2 10

PLOT: An uptight cop (Reese Witherspoon) is forced to protect the sexy widow (Sofia Vergara) of a drug lord after a double-cross leaves a federal agent dead and them in the cross-hairs of a pair of dirty cops.

REVIEW: One step forward, one step back. After a string of terrible comedies, Reese Witherspoon bounced back in a big way with her Oscar-nominated turn in WILD. HOT PURSUIT is a truly bizarre follow-up. Witherspoon may have taken this as a little box-office insurance, but the result is as bad as any of her worst comedies, putting her squarely back in LEGALLY BLONDE 2 territory – which anyone can see Witherspoon outgrew years ago.

Here, she plays a “zany” cop who's supposed to be so socially awkward (re: adorable) that the first scene has her date (a cameo by Mike Birbiglia) running for his life as he's so anxious to get away from this beautiful woman who's clearly interested in him. Yes folks, it's going to be that kind movie where I, as your humble critic, find myself in a dead zone of tragically unfunny hi-jinx.

I will give it this, HOT PURSUIT is better than PAUL BLART 2 – if marginally so. On the plus side, Anne Fletcher is a decent director slumming in a genre she's likely been pigeonholed in, so it's not an especially painful thing to look at. At least the whole movie isn't just a ninety minute casino commercial. Also – on their worst day Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara can never embarrass themselves too badly, but boy oh boy do they come close here.

Its amazing that this film ever got made as it's barely a movie – running a scant eighty-something minutes with credits drawn out by SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT-style outtakes that would pass muster as a DVD/Blu-ray extra at best. The film, which is yet another take on the MIDNIGHT RUN formula (cop and criminal reluctantly paired-up, become friends) that's about as inspired as the laughably generic title, which was actually used back in 1987 for a John Cusack/Robert Loggia joint.

Sofia Vergara was likely told throughout filming to “just do exactly what you do on Modern Family.” Thus, she plays a spicy-Latina with tons of jokes about her bodacious figure and age, with everyone assuming she's in her late forties/early fifties even though she looks about – I dunno – thirty five tops? For her part, Witherspoon's height is mocked, and for some reason a recurring joke is thrown in where people tell her she has a mustache even though she hasn't got the lightest bit of fuzz on her upper lip. It's just stupid.

The movie tries to eke laughs out of well-worn cliches involving a hick-farmer who loves guns (Jim Gaffigan – who I hope got paid well) and is easy to fool, and a tacked-on romantic subplot for Witherspoon where she falls in love with a gentlemanly parolee (Robert Kazinsky) with a six-pack and a bizarre propensity for violence, which is, of course, hi-la-ri-ous!. By far the worst bit is when Witherspoon and Vergara manage to outsmart the crooked cops by explaining to them the concept of menstruation, which apparently these bozos have never heard of. This is “How Did This Get Made” level material.

It all concludes with a sequence where Witherspoon dresses up as Justin Bieber (which of course fools everyone) to sneak into the bad guys party, yada yada yada. By this point you'll be beyond caring, although a last second joke which suggests a corrupt act by Witherspoon that could have been lifted out of THE SEVEN-FIVE is remarkably stupid – just like the rest of the movie.

In the end, Witherspoon and Vergara will probably emerge from this unscathed. It's bad, but it's more generic bad than “holy shit am I really watching this???” bad. I honestly can't imagine any audience really going for it as even the usual easy-to-please promo crowd at the free screening seemed relatively subdued. My groans whenever someone did or said something dumb was about as vocal as it got.

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Source: JoBlo.com

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1:59PM on 05/07/2015

It's funny to think Sofia thinks this would make even $40,000,000 in opening weekend.

I heard her on Howard Stern and she said she was drawn to this movie because it isn't a typical chick flick. It is two women who are framed and trying to run from cops and bad guys. Like that isn't the second biggest cliched plot in cinema history.

I don't get her appeal. She can't act and knows it, she told her son he couldn't drop out of school and become an actor because he doesn't have a set of huge boobs like she does.

I heard her on Howard Stern and she said she was drawn to this movie because it isn't a typical chick flick. It is two women who are framed and trying to run from cops and bad guys. Like that isn't the second biggest cliched plot in cinema history.

I don't get her appeal. She can't act and knows it, she told her son he couldn't drop out of school and become an actor because he doesn't have a set of huge boobs like she does.

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1:15PM on 05/07/2015
Doesn't surprise me. Nothing about the promotional material made it look the least bit entertaining. Sophia Vergara has to be one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood right now. Her character on Modern Family is funny, but everything else she does is just a carbon-copy of that character. It seems in this movie she plays exactly the same character as MF.

As for Reese Witherspoon, given her recent turn in acting gigs (i.e. Wild), I imagine she signed on to do this movie before her
Doesn't surprise me. Nothing about the promotional material made it look the least bit entertaining. Sophia Vergara has to be one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood right now. Her character on Modern Family is funny, but everything else she does is just a carbon-copy of that character. It seems in this movie she plays exactly the same character as MF.

As for Reese Witherspoon, given her recent turn in acting gigs (i.e. Wild), I imagine she signed on to do this movie before her notoriety from Wild started to gain steam. Hopefully she puts this crap behind her and starts focusing on more Wild level material.
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12:30PM on 05/07/2015
Doesn't this almost always happen? Oscar winners/nominees tend to follow up their Oscar worthy performances with pure crap. A la Blind Side and All About Steve (though I think the latter came before the former). Another great review by Bumbray though. I'm sure I enjoyed this more than I'll enjoy the movie.
Doesn't this almost always happen? Oscar winners/nominees tend to follow up their Oscar worthy performances with pure crap. A la Blind Side and All About Steve (though I think the latter came before the former). Another great review by Bumbray though. I'm sure I enjoyed this more than I'll enjoy the movie.
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8:07AM on 05/07/2015

Both are annoying

watching Sofia Vergara is exhausting and never been a fan of Witherspoon...so I would never consider watching this, so it's good too see that I woun't miss anything.
watching Sofia Vergara is exhausting and never been a fan of Witherspoon...so I would never consider watching this, so it's good too see that I woun't miss anything.
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5:57AM on 05/07/2015
I don't think I could sit thru an entire movie of Sofia Vergara's "shout all of your lines as loudly as possible" method of acting
I don't think I could sit thru an entire movie of Sofia Vergara's "shout all of your lines as loudly as possible" method of acting
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4:45AM on 05/07/2015
I'd probably catch this on TV when nothing's on.
I'd probably catch this on TV when nothing's on.
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4:18AM on 05/07/2015
Thisis how i imagine Reese Witherspoon rationalized doing this movie...

"i get to act a silly as i want, hang out with fun people, and not stress about anything while doing it. Sure what the hell"

she really has nothing to loose with this movie. It's a piece of garbage but she'll still come out clean. She's so involved with producing and acting major films that doing this one looks like a vacation for her. I dont really blame her for wanting a break from heavy films. I would be
Thisis how i imagine Reese Witherspoon rationalized doing this movie...

"i get to act a silly as i want, hang out with fun people, and not stress about anything while doing it. Sure what the hell"

she really has nothing to loose with this movie. It's a piece of garbage but she'll still come out clean. She's so involved with producing and acting major films that doing this one looks like a vacation for her. I dont really blame her for wanting a break from heavy films. I would be disappointing to her that she had high hopes for this.
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3:18AM on 05/07/2015
I get that studios want to play things safe and that they see dollar signs in crap like this, but seriously, how does this kind of stuff get greenlit? Does the people who greenlight this truly see these kinds of films as making enough money that it's worth shelling out big bucks for A list stars and taking up space in theaters? I find it incredibly hard to believe that there isn't another script there that would make a better film to draw a bigger crowd to theaters.
I get that studios want to play things safe and that they see dollar signs in crap like this, but seriously, how does this kind of stuff get greenlit? Does the people who greenlight this truly see these kinds of films as making enough money that it's worth shelling out big bucks for A list stars and taking up space in theaters? I find it incredibly hard to believe that there isn't another script there that would make a better film to draw a bigger crowd to theaters.
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2:34AM on 05/07/2015
This movie has paycheck written all over it. For everyone involved.
This movie has paycheck written all over it. For everyone involved.
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12:42AM on 05/07/2015
Movie looks like dog shit. Trailers were unfunny and cringe-worthy.
Movie looks like dog shit. Trailers were unfunny and cringe-worthy.
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