Photo: MGM Studios
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara, Matthew Del Negro, Michael Mosley, John Carroll Lynch, Rob Lowzinsky
Release Date: May 8th, 2015
Directed by: Anne Fletcher
Rated PG-13 for violence, language, drugs, and some sexual content
Allow me to preface this review by saying Hollywood still can’t write female characters very well. Almost every comedy film involving women as main characters has to contain some joke about periods, lesbian action played up for laughs, or losing any semblance of brains once a man comes into the picture. Women in film are often shrill, nagging housewives, Manic Pixie Dream Girls, sexy but insubstantial, and so on. Perhaps the reason for this is because the vast majority of screenwriters in Hollywood are men. Hot Pursuit is no different; it was written by sitcom writers David Feeney and John Quaintance.
Reese Witherspoon stars as Rose Cooper, a cop who has been stuck in the evidence room for three years after an incident involving setting the mayor’s kid on fire with a taser. After her boss (Lynch) offers her an assignment to escort Daniella Riva, the wife of a drug kingpin’s right-hand man (Vergara) to Dallas so she can testify against him. Naturally, she jumps at the chance to be back in the field. Unsurprisingly, things get hairy when gunmen show up and kill Riva’s husband and a federal agent on the day of the pickup. Cooper and Riva are named as suspects in the shootings; they must evade the kingpin’s henchmen and a pair of crooked cops to get to Dallas safely.
I honestly cannot remember the last time I laughed so rarely watching a comedy. Though Witherspoon and Vergara are extremely talented actresses, they have zero screen chemistry here. Perhaps if these two ladies had been given more to work with, this film would have been somewhat watchable. Most of the jokes fall flat (the requisite fake lesbian makeout scene made me cringe) and the romantic subplot involving a parolee whose truck they steal (Lowzinsky) seems tacked-on and forced. I’ll admit the plot twist at the end did throw me for a loop (mini-spoiler: there’s a lot more to Daniella Riva than you expect), but by then I didn’t care anymore.
I also found it interesting that Vergara and Witherspoon served as producers on this dreck. It was also directed by Anne Fletcher, whose previous work has included chick flicks 27 Dresses and The Proposal. Its 87 minutes seemed much, much longer than they should have. Don’t wait for this to come out on Redbox, save yourself the agony (and the dollar) and watch The Heat or Midnight Run instead.