Follow eastcountytimes on Twitter

Become a Friend of The East County Times


Click on the paper above to visit our
Digital Edition



Article by Teddy Durgin

Hot Pursuit will leave you cold

There's just no kind way to write this one, folks. "Hot Pursuit" is a genuinely awful movie - awful in ways that make even its pathetic 87-minute running time seem long. It's a misfire on all levels. The plot is jive and uninspired. The performances rank among the worst of everyone's careers. The chemistry between the two leads never truly materializes. It's insulting to women, to Latinas, to cops, to Texans, really to anyone who is physically able to sit upright for less than an hour and a half and watch images projected on a large white screen. It is an absolute must-avoid. Worst of all, I can't even give stars Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara a pass on this one. This isn't the case of a couple of name actresses having too few scripts to choose from in which the two leads are female. This was a project in which both ladies served as producers; ostensibly championed it through its production; and both have been going around various talk shows and press junkets in days recent, with arms locked, professing how much fun this movie was to make. I know they made the movie. But have they actually SEEN the movie?! Vergara as Daniella, the wife of a drug lord forced on the run, pulls from her limited bag of tricks and delivers exactly what you'd expect - a shrill, wince-inducing turn in which she lets her cleavage claim most of the performance. It's Witherspoon who is the real disappointment here. She's usually such an engaging presence on screen, and her comic timing has been terrific in such past films as "Election" and "Legally Blonde." She has an Oscar, for Caviezel's sake! But I have never seen her give a worse performance. You never once believe her as Rose Cooper, an uptight, button-down, by-the-book police officer who is following in the footsteps of her legendary cop-father. It comes off as a thin, three-minute sketch character stretched out over 90 minutes. Worst of all, never once do you believe her as a cop. She seems to have no police training at all. She can't drive a car at high speed without nearly hitting something or someone. Her handling of firearms is a joke. Then, there is her basic human idiocy. She's never heard of the term "Shotgun!" as in, "Let's drive to the mall. I call 'Shotgun!'" She's from Texas and doesn't recognize a Longhorn tattoo! The script by David Feeney and John Quaintance does neither of them any favors. Yeah, it's the rare screenplay that has meaty parts for two actresses who are no longer 25. But, of course, it throws in the obligatory scene where the two have to pretend to be lesbians and make out. Then, there is the obligatory catfight in a confined space with much tackling, shoving and hair pulling. All that's missing is a scene where the two have to dress up as hookers and have a pillow fight with slo-mo feathers. God forbid there is a sequel. "Hot Pursuit" proves yet again the importance of a great director. Let's just take "Election." Witherspoon's Tracy Flick could have come across as a shrill, one-note, completely unbelievable character in that film. But with Alexander Payne's sharp writing and clear direction, she was one of the most memorable comic creations of the late 1990s and garnered Witherspoon some of the best reviews of her young career. You walk into Payne's production office today and what do you see? Posters lining the walls of his subsequent films like "About Schmidt," "Sideways" and "The Descendants." What are the posters hanging on the wall of "Hot Pursuit" director Anne Fletcher's office? It's not pretty, folks. "The Guilt Trip," that putrid Barbara Streisand/Seth Rogen team-up; "27 Dresses," which was not easy to sit through; and "The Proposal." Those aren't accomplishments. That's a row of "Now Playing" film posters leading into a cineplex in Hell. Add "Hot Pursuit" to the Devil's marquee. It's really that bad, folks.

"Hot Pursuit" is rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language and some drug material.


@2008 East County Times. All Rights Reserved

Phone 410-780-3303 Email Reporting Staff [email protected] Email Art Dept. [email protected] Advertising [email protected]