HOT PURSUIT
Author: J.A. Hyde
May 7, 2015

SYNOPSIS: 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.

Hot Pursuit, starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, is a delightful, little confection for anyone looking for a break from action films. What saves it from being just fluff are the performances of its two stars. Actually, the rest of the cast doesn’t really matter. Reese Witherspoon has been lauded for so many intensely dramatic roles that it’s good to remember that she is equally skilled at comedy. While many gentlemen in the audience will no doubt be there to observe Miss Vergara’s considerable assets, I hope they will also appreciate her impeccable sense of comic timing.

Witherspoon plays Rose Cooper, an intensely dedicated, by-the-book cop. In fact, she has the book memorized and recites it aloud to “calm down”. Although she’s been demoted to evidence room clerk for an unfortunate (and very funny) mistake, she’s determined to regain her status as a beat cop. Much of the humor comes from sight gags and supposedly serious lines that highlight her complete inflexibility. Pair that with Vergara’s stunning beauty and femininity – plus her sexy wardrobe – and you have the perfect “frenemy” set-up for a “buddy” movie – or should that be gal-pal?

Hot Pursuit is basically a chase movie, so the plot is predictable although a few twists are thrown in to keep you on your toes. In spite of her clerk status, Cooper (Witherspoon) is chosen to help a federal marshall transport two witnesses to the trial of a drug king-pen, Vicente Cortez (Joaquin Cosio). Cooper is overjoyed, not realizing that she’s been chosen for a reason – one she would never suspect. They’re to leave San Antonio and arrive in Dallas just before the trial begins to avoid assassination attempts. Of course, plans go awry and Cooper is left to get Daniella Riva (Vergara) to The Big D on time to testify.

The rest of the story involves the pratfalls and screw-ups resulting from the tension between the polar-opposite characters. You might suspect that they end up having more in common than they know. When it seems that they have no one on their side, they stumble onto an ankle-braceleted probationer, Randy, well-played by Robert Kazinsky.

Hot Pursuit is by no means a piece of serious film-making, but it’s laugh-out-loud funny.
- JoAnne Hyde

GRADE: B


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