On your mark. Get set.
Squabble. Bicker. Fuss.
Carp. Squawk. Caterwaul.
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Ladies! Please! Can’t y’all just get along?
Not in “Hot Pursuit” they can’t. Without near-nonstop high-decibel disputations between Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara, there would be no movie.
That would not necessarily be a bad thing.
Look, they’re a talented duo. And they appear to be having a great time playing an uptight fussbudget cop and a va-va-voomy heavily accented Latina bombshell who looks equally sweltering in a form-fitting white dress or a clingy “Butter My Biscuits” logo-ed T-shirt.
And they zing zingers with great gusto.
Vergara: “Look at you, you’re teeny-tiny. You’re like a little dog that I can put in my purse!”
Witherspoon, commenting on Vergara’s look in an orange prison jumpsuit (form-fitting, natch): “You look like a sexy traffic cone.”
Funny stuff, a lot of it. Trouble is, too much of what they say is said AT THE TOP OF THEIR VOICES. That is, when they aren’t outright screaming in A) shock, B) dismay, C) hysteria.
Fact is, they’re badly let down by the script credited to David Feeney and John Quaintance and the direction of Anne Fletcher. The plot is mind-numbingly simplistic: Witherspoon’s bungling, by-the-book officer is assigned to transport Vergara’s widow of a drug dealer across Texas to testify in a trial of a drug lord. Cartel hit men and murderous corrupt cops give chase.
On the run, these two argue incessantly. The plot is basically a rickety framework on which the picture hangs endless short jokes made at the “teeny-tiny” cop’s expense and jokes about her lack of sexiness, along with jokes about the widow’s addiction to sparkly high-heel shoes. (She drags a suitcaseful everywhere they go.) Hilarity ensues.
The movie’s makers wish.
Clearly, the idea here was to follow in the flatfootsteps of “The Heat”: funny ladies do funny cop-movie business. But with all the overacting and downright yelling, comedy crumbles under the sonic assault.