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Hot Pursuit

Hot Pursuit

Released 31 July 2015
Director Anne Fletcher

Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara, John Carroll Lynch, Robert Kazinsky, Michael Mosley
Writer(s) David Feeney, John Quaintance

Bruna Papandrea, Reese Witherspoon, Dana Fox
Origin United States
Running Time 87 minutes
Genre Comedy, action, crime
Rating 12A

Hams on the run.

I’m going to assume that Sofia Vergara is the cinematic equivalent of Marmite. Somebody must like her, after all she is the best paid actress on U.S. television thanks to her starring role in the ever popular Modern Family. Personally, I find her style of performance too shrill to be anything other than spectacularly grating. Having said that, I walked into Hot Pursuit with an open mind. Reese Witherspoon has a good record with silly screen comedy and the idea of a Midnight Run-style escapade has good scope for expansion. It only took about ten minutes to disavow me of my foolishly optimistic thoughts.

Witherspoon plays Cooper, a second generation cop who is struggling to follow in the hallowed footsteps of her well-respected father. Her career has stalled following an unfortunate incident and she is languishing in the evidence room until she is unexpectedly called upon for a high profile detail. A major drug lord is in custody and one of his employees is set to testify against him - Cooper and her colleague just have to get him to Dallas on time. Following an ambush, Cooper is left on her own with Daniella Riva (Vergara), the highly strung wife of the witness. The pair join forces to get to Dallas in time for the court case.

It’s not the most original or exciting set-up for a film but it could have been passable if only the script and performances were funny enough to raise it above its mediocre concept. Unfortunately the script seems to rely on a bizarre amount of repetition and both characters are just plain irritating. The best adjective to describe Vergara’s performance is loud. She spends her time wailing and shrieking, as if the comedic value of her performance could be improved through decibel level. Witherspoon is similarly irksome; her Southern Fried accent exacerbating the irritation levels of a character who is frequently described as ‘intense’ but is really just a tedious jobsworth who is not very fun to be around.

The pair seem to be engaged in a contest to see who can be the bigger caricature - they both win. It’s really a shame; after all it’s heartening to see the amount of female-led comedy being produced in Hollywood at the moment. Let’s just hope this dull dud doesn’t stop that equality train in its tracks.

- Linda O’Brien