Hot Pursuit (2015)

Hot Pursuit (2015)
  • Time: 87 min
  • Genre: Action | Comedy
  • Director: Anne Fletcher
  • Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Sofía Vergara, Jodi Lyn Brockton, Matthew Del Negro


An uptight and by-the-book cop (Reese Witherspoon) tries to protect the sexy and outgoing widow (Sofia Vergara) of a drug boss as they race through Texas pursued by crooked cops and murderous gunmen.


  • In the opening scene of 2015’s Hot Pursuit (my latest review), a police officer is driving around with his 7 to 8 year old daughter (a younger version of the main character) huddled in the back seat. He’s taking on hardened criminals, arresting prostitutes, and even attempting to fire his gun in the line of duty. The little tyke must have signed a waiver or it’s just take your child to work week. Yeah that’s what it is… not!

    Anyway, Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon obviously had a lot of fun making this flick. Myself? Well, I didn’t have a lot of fun watching it. In fact, I would rather endure a four hour insurance seminar with walking pneumonia than to have to take in a second viewing. This is screwball comedy masked as faux implausibility. This is Thelma & Louise revealed as the ugly stepdaughter version. Heck, this is “Hot” Garbage touted as working title incarnate. To say that “Pursuit” is among the crappiest films released this year is a conspicuous understatement. I just hope that bubbly Elle Woods is enjoying her $15 million dollar paycheck at the conclusion of the wrap party.

    Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses) is behind the camera and her direction for the most part, flaunts itself as pedestrian. She’s about as comfortable with the concept of physical comedy as a cow playing the waiting game inside a slaughterhouse. Added to that, Hot Pursuit’s screenplay feels like it was written on napkins. And just a thought, was this thing filmed over a three day weekend? I’m thinking no. But it sure as heck felt like it was.

    Containing almost no laughs, featuring sequences of nettlesome, rapid-fire dialogue that evaporate right before your eyes, and referencing a women’s menstrual cycle through two cringe-worthy script readings (ugh), Hot Pursuit chronicles a pint-sized, rent-a-cop in Rose Cooper (Witherspoon). Her late father inspired her to pursue a career in law enforcement. The downside is that in the beginning of the film’s 87 minute running time, she’s relegated to desk work due to her hyperactive inefficiency on the job. When she gets an opportunity to redeem herself via protecting a drug informant’s wife (Daniella Riva played by Sofia Vergara), Coop froths at the chance. The proceedings then dive into her and Riva bickering ceremoniously while barreling through the state of Texas. As this film gets closer and closer to paydirt, (spoiler alert) there are at least three twists coming. Two of them involve Cooper’s superior officers turning on her while revealing that they secretly work for the bad guys. You have to wonder, the superintendent that hired these crooked schleps probably needed to be brought in front of a committee (for outright dismissal).

    Now I no doubt feel that Witherspoon can act. She’s won a frickin Oscar and recently got nominated for another (2014’s Wild). However, I’ve never seen her so unlikable in a role like the one she plays here. Her Cooper is judgemental, a spaz, socially inept, and borderline insubordinate. The fact that she gets hurled into the field is only predicated on moving the plot along. Cooper trooper would be better off sitting behind a desk, answering phone calls, or partaking in some serious counseling. When she infiltrates a mob invested party (as a Justin Bieber lookalike) and involves herself in a Mexican standoff, I got a serious case of the heebie-jeebies. I mean honestly, would you as a police chief, let someone carry a firearm after they put a taser to a college student belting out the word “shotgun”? Yeah, me neither. As for Sophia Vergara, well I’ve never been a huge fan of hers to begin with. She’s beautiful to look at but irksome as heck. She’s the reason I can’t quite get through an episode of Modern Family. Her and Louisiana’s golden girl try to out annoy each other while the audience shakes their heads in disbelief. This is a screen pairing that’s about as credible as the food equivalent of green beans and butterscotch candy. Yuck!

    In conclusion, like every other bad comedy from the last ten years, Hot Pursuit does in fact, contain outtakes at the end. We’ve seen this all before. The actors flub their lines and laugh uncontrollably. I mean, it almost comes off as scripted now. Truthfully, the only time I’ve ever embraced end-of-the-movie bloopers was after 1981’s The Cannonball Run concluded. They were actually funny and sort of the first of their kind. Nowadays every darn gag reel seems to be used as filler. During one of the deleted scenes, Reese Witherspoon messes up a line and actually says, “I was about to give the performance of a lifetime.” Sure you were Reese. That’s a good one. Hilarious!

    Of note: There’s another movie titled Hot Pursuit that came out in the spring of 1987. It starred John “I always get the girl” Cusack. It was no masterpiece but you can safely say you saw it instead of this clutter.

    Rating: 1 out of 4 stars

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  • Hot Pursuit is not entirely unfunny, though it often seems that way for most of its 88-minute running time. Few of its gags are fresh, and the fact that these tired jokes manage to elicit any laughs is due to the comic talents of the film’s leading ladies, Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara.

    Witherspoon’s Cooper was destined to be a cop, given that she practically grew up in the back seat of her father’s squad car. Cooper is a tad too intense – the opening sequence includes her chasing down a man who turns out to have bailed on a date set up via a Christian mingle dating service. Her professional career isn’t doing too well either. Cooper is a glorified secretary, mocked by her male colleagues for being overly by-the-book and for accidentally tasering an unarmed teenager and setting his clothes on fire. Her captain (John Carroll Lynch) decides to give her a second chance by assigning her to help escort a witness and his wife Daniella (Sofia Vergara) from San Antonio to Dallas to testify against a drug kingpin.

    What should have been a relatively simple task goes spectacularly awry when both the DEA agent and the witness are shot in the crossfire of two separate groups of shooters, forcing Cooper and the newly widowed Daniella to go on the lam. As the women avoid being pursued by dirty cops and even dirtier crooks, they land themselves in a series of situational antics. These include convincing a skeptical farmer (Jim Gaffigan) that they are lesbians by pretzeling themselves into a deeply unsexy clinch, and taking a tour bus of senior citizens on an unexpected highway chase.

    Witherspoon and Vergara certainly make for a mismatched pair. The mere sight of the diminutive blond next to the towering brunette is a built-in source of amusement. “You’re teeny tiny, you’re like a little dog I can put in my purse,” Daniella notes upon meeting Cooper, and the screenwriters make a running theme out of Cooper’s stature, which decreases with each passing mention, along with Daniella’s age, which one news bulletin describes as 45 whilst another television report puts her at 50. Considering Vergara is encased in a variety of outfits that miraculously contain her impressive curves, these cracks make no sense at all. Neither do the glamorous Daniella’s constant insults of Cooper’s not-so-feminine appearance since Witherspoon always manages to look cute-as-a-button.

    Hot Pursuit is not always worthy of Witherspoon and Vergara’s abilities. It’s sloppy, cartoonish, and serviceable at best. Still, the screenwriters and director Anne Fletcher should be grateful for the actresses’ involvement, even if Witherspoon sometimes overdoes her Southern fried take on Tracy Flick and Vergara brays more than is necessary. For a time, watching the film is like seeing two stars battle over who can be more loud, annoying, and unintelligible. Yet one eventually admires the stars’ commitment to their roles. It’s hard not to laugh at the tone, both matter-of-fact and entitled, in which Vergara delivers the line, “Hi, I want to get on this bus.” Or the way Witherspoon amps up her character’s already motormouthed ways after Cooper is covered with “baking powder.”

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  • Directed by Anne Fletcher, Hot Pursuit follows the story of Cooper (Reese Witherspoon), an uptight and by-the-book cop who is given an important assignment to escort Daniella (Sofía Vergara), the wife of a drug boss, from San Antonio to Dallas so both she and her husband can testify against a cartel leader. However things go awry when crooked cops and murderous gunmen intervene and it’s up to Cooper to make sure she and her witness don’t get killed.

    On paper Hot Pursuit sounds like an enjoyable buddy-comedy and both Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara are two very talented actresses who certainly have the potential to carry a movie such as this one. Sadly however Hot Pursuit is a terrible and extremely unfunny movie that did not make me laugh even once.

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