Hot Pursuit (2 stars)

Hot Pursuit

Credit: Sam Emerson

Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara can't quite salvage a so-so action-comedy

Reese Witherspoon, in case we’ve forgotten her facility for comedy, was the 'Queen of Cute' in Legally Blonde, and can still play absurdity adorably. It’s when she has a go at being a teensy weensy Melissa McCarthy, with some sporadic shots at gross-out humour, that things get a bit unnerving.

In Anne Fletcher's action-comedy, Witherspoon plays Cooper, an ambitious, rigidly gung-ho Texan cop whose clumsiness has landed her unhappily out of harm’s way in the limbo of the evidence room, where she is the butt of all the mean, macho cops’ derision. Then a female police officer is needed to help escort a key prosecution witness, pampered drug dealer's wife Daniella Riva – played by the flagrantly bodacious, and uninhibitedly funny, Sofía Vergara – across the state to a drug lord’s trial. Needless to say, this does not go well. In short order – and amid persistent hails of gunfire – Daniella’s hubby is dispatched, Cooper is fingered for it, and the fugitive chicks, handcuffed together, are fleeing cartel hitmen, crooked killer cops and a massive manhunt abetted by the trigger-happy populace of Texas, bitching all the way.

The contrast between the hot tomato in Louboutins and the tiny law woman in granny pants is charmingly played up – a running joke in which their physical descriptions are constantly, unflatteringly revised on TV news bulletins is gigglesome – but there’s too much shrieking and squeaking in by-the-numbers chase sequences to raise this into the league of great odd-couple-on-the-run flicks (Midnight Run it definitely is not). It starts running out of gas and gags well before the end, the appealing interplay between the stars crying out for a sharper script and higher calibre action.

General release from Fri 31 Jul.

Hot Pursuit

  • 2 stars
  • 2015
  • US
  • 1h 27min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Anne Fletcher
  • Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Sofía Vergara
  • UK release: 8 May 2015

Cooper (Witherspoon) is an ambitious and gung-ho Texan cop whose clumsiness has made her a laughing-stock; then she has to escort drug-dealer's-wife Daniella (Vergara) across the state. The two stars have appealing interplay and Vergara is very funny, but the script demands too much shrieking and squeaking and the action…