Film review: Hot Pursuit is predictable but charming

Vergara and Witherspoon getting on like a house on fire
Cert 12a | ★★★☆☆

Dirty cops, drug cartels and killer stilettos – Hot Pursuit doesn’t deal in subtlety and that’s fine. It’s not edgy, smart or even particularly original but it is redeemed by the comic chemistry between Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara.

Set in Texas, Witherspoon plays uptight and rules-obsessed police officer Cooper. After a notorious blunder involving the Mayor’s son, a taser gun and fire, Cooper is relegated to office work. Given the chance to redeem herself by putting away America’s most wanted drug lord, Cooper must first make sure an important cartel member and his wife testify in court. Shoot outs follow, and soon Witherspoon’s character is the only person left to protect the hapless Mrs Riva, played with flair by Vergara.

After a series of critically acclaimed films, Witherspoon’s reputation as a Hollywood heavyweight has been confirmed. However, her return to comedy has long been overdue. With many first falling for her as Legally Blonde’s Elle Woods, Witherspoon’s performance as the straight-laced Cooper is her funniest role since. Vergara also does well, and while no one could ever accuse her of shying away from a performance, her take on the larger than life Mrs Riva is packed full of knowing self-deprecation.

There has been a lot of tedious chatter about whether women can ‘do’ comedy. Hot Pursuit will not be the film to silence the naysayers. Despite funny performances from its two leads, its script is too predictable and gags too familiar for that. However, what it lacks in originality it makes up for in charm and if you do away with your cynicism there’s still a lot to be enjoyed.

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