“Hot Pursuit” is a comedy directed by Anne Fletcher, and has generally elicited very unfavorable ratings. The narrative follows Texan police officer Rose Cooper (Reese Witherspoon), who is trying to follow in her father’s footsteps and is assigned to escort Daniella Riva (Sofia Vergara) and her cartel-affiliated husband. When two pairs of gunmen storm the house, things go very wrong and Riva and Cooper find themselves pursued by crooked cops and the cartel through the state of Texas. While most films in the “chick flick” genre tend to be anathema for any man, “Hot Pursuit” is a delightfully satisfying movie. While it is definitely no masterpiece, I found it strangely enjoyable (hopefully not due to any midterm-related delirium).
To be frank, I found myself surprised at how genuinely enjoyable this movie was, with some clever jokes and downright hilarious sequences. For example, while Cooper and Riva are running from the police, there are news reports describing them. Each broadcast describes Witherspoon as shorter and shorter, and Vergara as older and older — at the end, Witherspoon is described as four-foot-two, and Vergara is 60 years old. Another scene sees Riva and Cooper commandeer a senior citizen’s tour bus trying to get away from the cartel, with the senior citizens completely clueless as to whether this is a part of the tour.
Witherspoon’s acting is great given that she is given a role that can so easily be overplayed. The timid, shy and by-the-book cop can be easily overdone in a way that places too much emphasis on the character’s awkwardness, especially when paired with Riva’s rambunctious, outgoing diva character. While Vergara and Witherspoon have great on-screen chemistry, this pairing is formulaic to a tee and annoyingly reinforces the trope of solitary equals bad and awkward while social equals good and fun. Moreover, this trope also follows the typical stereotype of the Latina woman as wild and disorderly (a role that Vergara regularly uses), and the white woman as orderly and timid. But the biggest flaw? Reese Witherspoon’s godawful Texan accent. From an actress of Witherspoon’s caliber this is just disappointing. It seems as if no one in Hollywood really knows how to do a Texan accent.
While no masterpiece, I must admit that “Hot Pursuit” was bizarrely enjoyable. Witherspoon’s portrayal of Cooper as a stiff, rulebook kind of cop who has trouble with other people was well-acted. For those of you stressed out by midterms, exhausted by the mid-quarter blitz of papers or even those of you frustrated by hurly-burly politics of the ASUCR elections, “Hot Pursuit” is an enjoyable two hours to get your mind off things.
Rating: 3 stars