Movie Review: Hot Pursuit (2015)
Sometimes a summer movie that looks OK in trailers but bombs at the box office still turns out to be not horrible.
This isn’t that. “Hot Pursuit” is a candidate for worst movie of the year.
Reese Witherspoon is Cooper, a by-the-book, daughter-of-a-cop who, having infamously tasered the Mayor’s teenaged son after he calls “shotgun!” while walking with his bros to their car, is relegated to the evidence room. Ah, but then the plot. Or the assignment: help bring back Daniella Riva (Sofia Vergara) and her husband, who is turning state’s evidence against Mexican drug lord Vicente Cortez (Joaquín Cosio), whose enemies tend to disappear. The husband doesn’t even make it out of his house. Anglos in masks attack first, then Mexicans. Both Riva’s husband and Cooper’s partner are killed and the two women go on the lam in a red Cadillac convertible with 42 kilos of coke in the back.
It’s a buddy film. Cooper’s white and uptight, Riva’s loco and Latina. It’s “The Heat” but more outré and far less funny. Witherspoon and Vergara are rushed through set pieces that become increasingly cartoonish. They cross the Mexican border, for example, by pretending to be a deer and making “deer noises,” even as they bicker loudly. Later in the movie, handcuffed together, they commandeer a bus full of old people, whose eyes light up happily as they find themselves in the middle of a crazy car chase/shooting gallery. Because you know old people.
Witherspoon mostly works doing a working-class Tracy Flick but Vergara is way too outsized. She stomps on scenes.
Of course, during their adventures, Cooper learns to loosen up while Riva learns ... responsibility? Doesn’t matter. In these types of movies, it’s always the uptight one that has to learn something. Being less uptight, chiefly. Getting a man.
Early movie reveal: The masked Anglos are cops from Cooper’s precinct, so she can’t trust that outfit.
Mid-movie reveal: It was Riva herself who hired the Mexicans to kidnap her (and her husband?) because she wants revenge against Cortez, who killed her brother years earlier. So why not let hubby turn state’s evidence against him? Wouldn’t rotting in a U.S. prison be pretty good revenge?
Eleventh-hour reveal: Cooper’s captain is dirty, too. Which raises the question: Shouldn’t Cooper come out of this totally effed up? Disillusioned? No one is who they say they are. Instead, she comes out whole, and pals with Riva, who, in movie terms, is her biggest betrayal.
“Hot Pursuit” comes from two writers with lousy sitcom backgrounds (“According to Jim,” “Two Broke Girls,” “Whitney”) and a director, Anne Fletcher, who has directed mostly lousy chick flicks (“Step Up,” “27 Dresses,” “The Proposal” and “The Guilt Trip”). It shows.