Written by: David Feeney & John Quaintance
Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Sofía Vergara, John Carroll Lynch, Robert Kazinsky, Richard T. Jones
Getting charismatic actors attached to a project can do plenty for its marketability and quality as they remain the face of the project to the general public. This means the casting process carries great importance, but as seen through many horrid comedies over the years, having a good cast simply cannot be the only crutch for a film’s success as seen in Hot Pursuit. Two female stars tried their very best to salvage this mess, but it was doomed from the beginning and only continued to embarrass itself as the film progressed.
Deemed incompetent in being an officer, Rose Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) gets assigned to work the evidence room before being entrusted to be part of the detail taking cartel leader Felipe Riva (Vincent Laresca) and his wife Daniella (Sofia Vergara) to Dallas to testify against another head of another cartel. When things go array, Rose and Daniella go on the run together in order for the latter to still testify with some villains on their tail.
Putting together two starlets like Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara should bring some level of competence to a feature considering it must be somewhat decent to elicit their services. Well, Hot Pursuit showed they either received a hefty paycheck for this feature or they need to reevaluate the projects they take on. This feature essentially fails in being a respectable movie in nearly every level almost to an embarrassing degree. Simply an abject amount of lack of quality across the board where it made me wonder how the feature ever got the green light to go into production. It just takes stereotypes and plays with them in order to make some semblance of comedy that simply falls flat on its face on every occasion. Almost impressive how far down this film sinks.
The narrative focuses on two women and the different journeys they’re going on emotionally all while they try to make it to Dallas for Daniella to testify. Rose struggles with being far too intense to the point where she drives away men and Daniella deals with trying to reconcile trying to testify against a dangerous man who has done heinous things. Both carrying a level of incompetence between them they need to stumble their way to Dallas and do so encountering some of the dumbest situations anyone could think of. Their character development could be laughed out of the room and the attempted comedy on display just disappoints by any metric.
There’s a scene where Rose and Daniella’s vehicle gets crashed into by a truck releasing a bunch of cocaine in the air to which they play it off as flour for their baking. This then leads to a scene where Rose reacts to being high on cocaine and acts goofy when trying to buy a new change of clothes. Golden scenes like this one desperately needed a laugh track for the audience to remember to chuckle because, besides that, there would be no way to tell otherwise. This really just hits the tip of the iceberg on how bad things get in this story because the depiction of Daniella Riva and Sofia Vergara’s portrayal of her comes with its own host of problems.
Through her work in Modern Family, Vergara has become one of the most prominent Latinx figures in the entertainment industry and the characters she has portrayed have received their fair share of discussion around whether or not it’s moving the perception of this ethnic group backward. Speaking of this as a Latinx person, Vergara’s character in this feature forced me to roll my eyes on multiple occasions because it only further stereotypes the characters Latinx people represent in stories. While it becomes probable to believe Vergara had no say in the content of this character, giving it legitimacy by attaching her star-studded name to it does just as much damage. It becomes difficult to watch it all play out especially in the name of comedy. Feels incredibly icky and not even within a good film either.
Instantly forgettable for all the wrong reasons, Hot Pursuit has reveals that can be seen from a mile away and jokes that would make no one laugh because of their lack of originality. It just becomes a waste of everyone’s time. It may appear I have something against Anne Fletcher as a filmmaker with the low scores each of her features receives, but my goodness, her track record just comes filled to the brim with dud after dud with this one squarely near the bottom.