Friday, May 8, 2015

Movie Review #253: "Hot Pursuit" (2015)

Movie"Hot Pursuit"
Ticket Price: $12.50
Director: Anne Fletcher
Rating: PG-13
Running Time 1 hour, 27 minutes
Image Source
Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) has been raised from a young age by her police officer father to follow in his footsteps. After a mishap in the field, Cooper has been relegated to working the evidence locker. She now has an opportunity to redeem herself by helping a federal Marshall escort two drug cartel informants to Dallas where they are set to testify. It is Cooper's job to make sure the female witness, Daniella Riva (Sophía Vergara), gets to Dallas safely. But when the federal marshal and Daniella's husband wind up dead, Cooper is framed for the hit and must not only complete her job, but she must clear her name, too.  

If you'll remember back not too long ago, earlier this year, in fact, Reese Witherspoon was riding high on an Oscar nomination for legitimately one of the best performances of 2014. And she deserved to be nominated, too, because she gave a tremendously moving portrayal of Cheryl Strayed in "Wild." In fact, she was one of the few strong female performance in a year dominated by men everywhere else.

My, how the mighty have fallen.

"Hot Pursuit" is a "comedy" featuring the aforementioned Reese Witherspoon and current Latina sensation Sofia Vergara in a "buddy" type of movie, but only one of them are cops. Witherspoon, who plays Cooper (featuring a hugely fake, put-on Southern accent even though she doesn't need one since she already has one), grew up wanting to follow in her father's footsteps and be a police officer. After he passed away, she made it onto the force, but horrendously bungled a job and as a result, got taken off the beat and was essentially hidden in the evidence room until the shame stink rubbed off of her. Vergara is the "trophy wife" of a man who is set to testify against Vicente Cortez, her husband's boss, and needs to have a female cop escort her to Dallas to do so. Hilarity should ensue, right? VERY, VERY WRONG. Between Vergara's constant screeching and Witherspoon's incessant idiocy, the two make up one of the worst miscast duos in the last few decades. Witherspoon's Cooper has been essentially trained since she was a baby to be a police officer, so you'd think she'd be a little more astute and capable than she is. Instead, she comes across as a bumbling idiot and someone who is ridiculously socially awkward. She makes every stupid move possible from beginning to end and it only gets worse when she finally meets Vergara. From there, the two embark upon a forced zany road trip as they bicker the entire way back to Dallas, tearing each down because of their looks, calling each other names, and being generally homophobic, racist and sexist. Nothing about this movie is fun, but their interactions with each other are even less fun. None of their dynamic works and everything ends up feeling really forced, including the acting from the secondary characters! Cooper's would-be love interest Randy, played by Robert Kazinsky, struggles throughout his limited screen time to hide his British accent as it constantly pokes through his bad Southern drawl instead, which of course, BigJ and I caught immediately. The story is beyond predictable and within 3 minutes of seeing other characters on screen, we know how the movie will end and who will be involved.

It's not simply the acting that is godawful here. It's mostly the writing. And the dialogue. And the situations. Everything about this movie is ATROCIOUS. You'd think with the amount of sexist, stereotypical exchanges about women, the vast number of period jokes, justifying why a woman should only wear stilettos and not be so regimented at their work and why a woman needs to have a man to feel fulfilled in life, this movie would be directed by a man. Nope! Wrong again! A woman directed this movie, and this is perhaps the most offensive and enraging thing about "Hot Pursuit." A woman had to make the most important decisions regarding what stayed in this movie and what got taken out of it. A woman had the final say. A woman let these offensive, vitriolic, basic, unimaginative, chauvinistic, angering jokes and cliches into her movie. At one point, Vergara tells Witherspoon she doesn't need to act like a man just because she wants to be like her father and be a good, clean cop. Women don't have to act like men? Maybe Anne Fletcher should take her own movie's advice and not peddle this kind of carbon-copy vapidity to the masses like a misogynist would do. In a desperate attempt to prove that women are funny, Fletcher produced this steaming mound of crap, and its only job from here on out should be to be use as kindling for a fire.

We have gotten used to and have come to expect lowbrow jokes in the comedies of today, and it's a shame we have had to do so, but we cannot and will not ever be okay with it. It's less about the dumbing down of comedy and humor itself and more about the collective loss of wit we have been experiencing lately. Instead of genuinely funny comedies, we are mistreated to jokes of the lowest common denominator, pandering to a middle America that wouldn't know humor if it smacked them in the face. This loss of wit has resulted in the comedy genre as a whole only trying to shock its audiences without any meaning, timing, context, or fun behind it. So, here we are, yet again, reviewing the umpteenth movie with the same predictable formula and the same shitty jokes and the same sexist undertones and the same pandering to the base when we should be enjoying our jobs as movie reviewers and not so desperately wanting to walk out of a movie which is just short of 90 minutes in lieu of, well, pretty much anything else. We have no doubt that Vergara and Witherspoon will continue to do great things in their careers, but this isn't it. This is the lowest point for both of their careers, and it's also a new low point for cinema itself. The fact that this film made it off the cutting room floor is an abomination of epic proportions.

My Rating: 1.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 1.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 4.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 6%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!
One year ago, we were watching: "Brick Mansions

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