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The Orion

‘Hot Pursuit’ crashes and burns

Sofia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon play a mismatched pair on the run in “Hot Pursuit.” Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

It’s saying something when a movie’s outtakes come off funnier than the movie itself. With “Hot Pursuit,” the latest comedy by director Anne Fletcher, the outtakes during the ending credits are the best thing to happen during its 87-minute run.

“Hot Pursuit” stars Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara as two mismatched characters on a road trip from hell.

All Cooper (Witherspoon) wanted was to follow in her father’s footsteps and be a cop. She literally grows up in front of our eyes in the backseat of her father’s police cruiser, learning the trade. As the years pass and Cooper grows up, it doesn’t turn out the way she planned.

After a fiery mistake with a taser and the mayor’s son, Cooper is now a joke in her police precinct. She gets the chance to redeem herself by escorting a drug dealer and his wife, Daniella Riva (Vergara), to Dallas, where he is to be a federal witness in the trial of mob boss Cortez. Things go wrong, of course, and Cooper and Riva are now on the run from Cortez’s men and a couple of crooked cops.

The setup is painfully simple and the jokes which repeat themselves over and over again seem lazy. The opening sequence showing a young Cooper and her experiences growing up in the backseat of her father’s police car was a nice start. But like most recent comedies, “Hot Pursuit” relies too heavily on overused jokes (when did being short become a joke?) and gags (two women dressed up as a dead deer isn’t what I call funny) that it misses a great opportunity.

Cooper and Riva are stereotypical female characters penned in almost any comedy. Cooper, an uptight woman who hides behind her shiny male shoes and clothing, doesn’t get the guy’s attention until she puts on a red dress. Riva, on the other hand, is a tall, beautiful Hispanic woman who cares more about her shoes and tiaras than her husband. It is obvious the script was written by two guys because what the audience sees are two women catfighting and pretending to be lesbians and nothing more.

It is sad to see Witherspoon in a film like “Hot Pursuit,” especially after seeing her in “Wild,” which earned her an Academy Award nomination. Yes, Witherspoon has spent most of her career in comedies such as “Legally Blonde” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” but at least those were good.

As for Vergara, it is not surprising to see her in “Hot Pursuit.” She practically plays the same character she plays in “Modern Family.” With her thick accent and her breasts always jumping out of her blouses, it is no wonder she keeps getting parts like these.

If audiences are looking for a substitution for the “Avengers” this weekend, stay away from “Hot Pursuit.” Stay inside and watch “Grace and Frankie” on Netflix. This writer hears it’s good. And funny.

A hundred bucks says that “Hot Pursuit 2” will grace the theaters next summer.

Erin Vierra can be reached at [email protected] or @gingersmurf85 on Twitter.

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