Reese Witherspoon playing a bumbling cop in Hot Pursuit is a role that should be beneath her after stunning performances in Wild and Gone Girl; yet she is not only the co-star, but one of the producers of this film. Moreover, the director is a woman! That writers (David Feeney and John Quaintaine) are still playing into the trite stereotype of women as poor drivers, hysterical, and bumbling just amazes me. This is supposed to be a comedy—and does have some good lines here and there—but that picture of women is not funny any more. Absurdity can be fun, but there is a point beyond which it is just ludicrous.
Cooper (Witherspoon) is a young police officer who is sent to accompany a male officer in putting a couple in witness protection. The woman will be under Cooper’s watch, and it will be tricky because Daniella (Vergara) and her husband are going to testify against a major drug cartel leader who has just been arrested, so their lives are in danger. The first problem is that Daniella does not want to testify, so periodically tries to run away. We won’t say what happens to the husband, but Cooper and Daniella undergo a series of catastrophes and near-misses on their way to the police station, all the while arguing with each other incessantly. To make matters worse, Cooper has been betrayed, and the media is reporting her as a rogue cop who needs to be apprehended. So there are fliers with their pictures and media broadcasts telling the public to turn them in.
The two women do make a good team despite the bickering and minor betrayals, but they also rescue one another just in the nick of time. Probably one of the funniest motifs of the film is high-heeled Daniella hauling a white(!) suitcase filled with shoes across all kinds of terrain, into her own swanky convertible, in pick-ups, in horse trailers, and through roadside stores with Cooper at her heels yelling at her to hurry. Hilarious too is Cooper coming to a swanky party disguised as a young boy (following Daniella’s many barbs about her not being girly enough). So the two stars do have comedic energy and talent; it’s just that the script often goes for ridiculous slapstick rather than clever humor.
A few good laughs, but too many cringing episodes.