Director: Anne Fletcher
Writer: David Feeney, John Quaintance
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Sofía Vergara, Matthew Del Negro, Michael Mosley, Robert Kazinsky, Richard T. Jones, John Carroll Lynch, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Birbiglia
Seen on: 22.6.2015
Rose Cooper (Reese Witherspoon) is a passionate cop, although she’s also a stickler for rules and a little too literal-minded, which led to a now infamous incident and to a long time-out for Cooper herself. The most exciting thing that happens to her in a long time is that she’s supposed to babysit the wife of a witness, Daniella (Sofía Vergara), until the trial the next day. But that assignment proves to be more exciting than anticipated and Cooper and Daniella soon find themselves on the run together.
Hot Pursuit is an extremely run of the mill “unlikely partners” movie like we’ve seen it a million times – only with two men instead of two women. Having two women starring doesn’t actually make it any better, but it is an exceptional thing to get such unexceptional fare with two female protagonists and a female director. So yay for that?!
Hot Pursuit is an okay film, don’t get me wrong. But every once in a while it really misses its mark. Like the fact that Rose’ entire character arc hinges on her changing completely. Only after she’s thoroughly reformed is she allowed to be successful in her career and to get a man. Because wanting to do things right, being eager and practical, and following the rules means that nobody will like you. Ever.
I also have my problems with Daniella as a character: first of all, she is the oversexualized latina stereotype. Second, she comes incredibly close to being the usual fast-talking sidekick of color [if the film had featured two male protagonists, her part would have been played by Eddie Murphy]. It only barely scratches past it because Daniella is not really a sidekick and there is at least a bit of a plot twist at the end that moves away from that. But it’s not only a trope I don’t like, it borders on being offensive and racist. And speaking of offensive, I really could have done without the trans* joke at the beginning.
But as many misses as there are, there are also a few hits that did make me laugh, like the “lesbian scene” where Daniella tries to distract a guy by pretending that she and Rose are lovers, resulting in the most awkward embrace you can imagine – and it still works because (straight) guys are just that used to lesbian sex being only there to cater to them. Or the fact that Rose takes the fact that people always think that she’s a boy and uses it to her advantage, instead of trying to enhance her femininity and thus conforming to gender stereotypes [though that joke wasn’t entirely unproblematic, either].
Altogehter I just wish that somebody with a little more feminist and racial sensibility would have given the script another once-over to really capitalize on the subversion potential that the film did have. But since they rather stuck with the tried and tested stuff, the movie never moves past mediocrity.