Hot Pursuit opens in theaters today and while the film is good for a couple of laughs, it probably would be found guilty of being sadly stereotypical.
The female buddy comedy follows Officer Cooper (Reese Witherspoon), a woman raised by her cop dad (who tries to step outside of his shadow but has failed miserably thus far), and Daniella Riva (Sofia Vergara), the wife of a cartel member who is being escorted to Texas to testify against a dangerous drug lord. The two must lay low and out-maneuver cartel members and bad cops until they can figure out a plan to get to safety.
The film starts out decent enough. The audience gets to see Officer Cooper basically grow up in the back of her dad’s police car, which builds a firm foundation for how and why she ended up on the force (because background aside, the woman probably shouldn’t have been a cop). We quickly see that she’s a Type-A personality that does everything by the book, a feat which turns her name into a joke and lands her in the evidence filing room (we’ll touch on the story behind that in a little bit). Eagerly awaiting her second shot to prove herself, she’s more than willing to trail along on the mission to collect the Rivas and get them to their trial safely.
I’m pretty sure you can guess why the movie ends up only being about Mrs. Rivas and not both of the Rivas’. As the pair makes their way toward safety, they encounter sticky situations and barely escape with their lives along the way, but also somehow make time to get a boyfriend and be offended by news reports that continually misreport their age and height. Sounds like a fun lady time right?! Right.
The movie may have been directed by a woman, but you can certainly tell it was written by a man… or men. There are “EW! Periods are gross!” jokes, “Here look at my boobs!” jokes, “We’re not really lesbian but let’s make out” jokes, pretty much any offensive joke that feminists would gladly pick apart, can be found in this film. It seemed like the characters annoyed each other more than they actually got along, so when their friendship actually did start to take form, it almost felt forced.
Back to the story behind Officer Cooper. I’ll leave the details to those of you who decide see the movie, but it basically boils down to an overeager officer preemptively harming a young man based on a misunderstanding. I’m not one to read into things that may not require that much attention, but during the movie my mind honestly recalled all of the news stories that have been all over our radios and internet lately about certain youths who have been killed due to some overeager police work. I’m sure the inclusion wasn’t meant to bring about those feelings at all, but just looking at the times we’re living in, it’s tap dancing on the line of funny-offensive and offensive-offensive.
Sofia and Reese are two actresses I usually adore. Sofia cracks me up every week on Modern Family (literally the only show that makes me laugh out loud) and Reese is an actress who rarely disappoints, so when I think about why either of these women decided to go along with this film, I just can’t come up with one good reason. The two didn’t really have the “buddy comedy” chemistry going on and outside of that, I’m honestly surprised Sofia took what many could look at as a stereotypical hispanic female role (“fiery” personality, nothing but sexy clothes, extremely broken english, etc…). Reese’s Officer Cooper wasn’t as much the cop you hope will turn it all around, as she was the cop you just wanted to stop talking and relax for most of the film (until the end of the film, when characters have their big life revelations).
In case you’re wondering, yes there were men in the film and no they didn’t help the situation. Robert Kazinsky played Officer Cooper’s love interest who seemed only mildly interested for a good bit of his screen-time and Matthew Del Negro and Michael Mosley played dirty cops who seemed like they pulled their hijinks out of an old-timey cartoon.
All in all, Hot Pursuit wasn’t exactly the worst movie I’ve seen this year, but it was definitely the one I really wanted to like, but just couldn’t.
‘Hot Pursuit’ Trailer
Hot Pursuit is in theaters now.
Photo Credit: Warner Bros.