Review by Michael Jacobson
Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Sofia Vergara, Matthew Del Negro, Michael Mosley
Director: Anne Fletcher
Audio: DTS HD 5.1
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Studio: Warner Bros.
Features: See Review
Length: 87 Minutes
Release Date: August 11, 2015
“You’re in danger, ma’am…but everything’s going to be fine.”
“What about my husband?”
“Everything but your husband’s going to be fine.”
Reese Witherspoon hasn’t really fallen this far, has she?
Ever since I first took notice of Reese in Pleasantville, she’s remained a favorite actress of mine. In role after role, she seems to disappear completely into her characters. Her Oscar win for Walk the Line was well-deserved, but really only one in a long resume of fine performances.
That’s true to an extent with Hot Pursuit…gone in her character of Rose Cooper is any of Ms. Witherspoon’s own charm, intelligence, and competency. If her goal was to play completely against type, she did it here. But really…an unoriginal, unfunny, buddy cop movie?
She plays the daughter of a top cop who’s been trying to make a name for herself. She’s very by-the-book, unyielding and unfunny…and also, unlike real police women, physically incapable of the job. Her task of late has been as a glorified secretary, because of a major blunder involving…um…a “shotgun”, that’s led the force to adopt the phrase “don’t pull a Cooper” for “don’t mess up”.
She gets a shot at redemption when a top cartel accountant and his wife have promised to testify against a dangerous drug lord. A “real” agent will handle the man, and her job is simply to babysit the wife Daniella Riva (Vergara) and get her to Dallas on time.
But a drug hit leaves the husband dead, and with dirty cops on the payroll, the only chance of success becomes whether Cooper can get Mrs. Riva to cooperate long enough to keep her alive. And, of course, Riva is a diva (no rhyme intended) who cares more about her looks and belongings than the price on her head.
This is all stuff we’ve seen before, to one degree of workability or another. This one doesn’t work. I realized when there was about 20 minutes left in the running time that I hadn’t laughed once. Movies like this are predictable and cookie-cutter, so really, there’s only one chance at having success: it had better be funny.
This movie was not, and in fact, was close to painful for me. Seeing Reese Witherspoon abandon all dignity for the sake of a movie that she will likely hope people someday will have completely forgotten is a waste of talent. Cooper is so flatly written that not even Reese’s abilities could try and bring a semblance of dimension to her…not even likability.
As for Sofia Vergara, her role is equally thankless: little more than a crude (but pretty) stereotype. I didn’t enjoy being trapped on a road trip with two people I wouldn’t even want to have lunch with.
I’m certain both stars have better work on the horizon, so for now, let’s just consider Hot Pursuit an unfortunate wrong turn on a pair of career paths.
No real issues with the high definition transfer here…there aren’t too many visual demands placed from the material, but images in light and dark settings come through cleanly, with no distortion or evident compression.
There are a few scenes that give the uncompressed surround track a little dynamic range. Dialogue is well-rendered throughout; there are never issues understanding what is being said, and overall, the sound is decently mixed and balanced.
There are only four very brief production featurette; each one almost essentially focusing on bloopers.
You’ve seen it before, and you’ve almost certainly seen it done better. Hot Pursuit is a disappointing waste of time and talent.