by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)
Let’s start here: 87, 21, 10, 6, 3, 2 and 2. I’ll explain those numbers in a bit, but for now just know that the idea of starting that count and actually counting while watching the latest lady-led comedy was the funniest thing to come out of the screening I only just walked out of.
The last couple of years have upped the bar for female led comedies. They’re not usually a subject I bring up and I certainly don’t ever bring up the fact that the film is led by women. Not because I’m some woman hating arse hair that thinks women shouldn’t be in my precious man-films, absolutely not. But because I watch films, good and bad, starring men, women, dogs, whatever. I don’t much care for the shape of your genitals so long as you make good films. Of course,I get excited when someone does particularly well, I’m a loud and proud Melissa McCarthy fan and like to cheer that I was right when I said she was hilarious in (and the best part of) Samantha Who? back in the day, but I also get very vocal when someone is complete and utter crap. Sadly, this is where I find myself this evening.
Anyway, back to that raised bar. Like them or not, and a fair few I’m about to list I really wasn’t a fan of, but films like Pitch Perfect, Spy, Bridesmaids and The Heat, along with stunning female roles in films like The Hunger Games and Mad Max: Fury Road have pulled out all the stops in getting people to stand up and notice their female stars. As much as I never wanted to be that guy, I have to say that we are seeing a turning point where women aren’t just dumb bimbos and objects of ridicule in films, they are legitimate stars and should absolutely be treated as such.
Hot Pursuit works very hard to undo all of that.
So, those numbers. 87. That’s minutes. Almost an hour and a half of Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara in a road/cop/buddy comedy that sees Witherspoon’s inept Texas cop unwittingly taking charge and trying to get Vergara’s ridiculous, bimbo housewife into protective custody after a home invasion leaves her soon-to-testify husband dead. Taking flight from cartels, dirty cops and good taste, the unlikely pair have to rely on each other to stay safe and get to their destination. On paper, it sounds a bit pants. But Reese Witherspoon has some pretty decent comedy chops on her so maybe she can up this to the level we have come to expect. Surely?
Hot Pursuit is an unwanted demonstration in how awful things used to be. Relying on antiquated clichés and sub-par lady-business jokes to illicit cheap laughs at the expense of the dignity of everyone on screen. And it doesn’t even succeed! This may be the least funny comedy I’ve seen since last year’s eye rapingly bad Sex Tape. Every single dusty old chick-comedy trope has been brought out and brushed off by these guys and they wasted no time in putting them out there. My next number; 21. It took the film 21 minutes (including intro/titles etc) to roll out each of the big four recurring jokes. Periods, height, age and race. 21 minutes to set up pretty much the rest of my movie going experience this evening.
Those jokes claim the rest of my numbers. Ten Reese Witherspoon is short jokes; six Sofia Vergara is old jokes; three period jokes and two race related jokes; not including every time Vergara’s accent is played for “laughs”, I couldn’t keep up with those. The average for these jokes? One shit, flat out insulting joke every 3.8 minutes. What a way to spend Friday evening.
The last number, the final 2?
The amount of laughs the film got out of me. An enormous two! And one of those came from the bloody blooper reel in the credits! So one joke in an hour and a half long movie got me to crack a smile! The rest of the time was spent equally between being embarrassed for those involved in making the film and rolling my eyes that this was supposed to be making me laugh!
OK, so forget my little rant up top about how this abomination of a movie has set those other movies back by a few years. In reality, I couldn’t care less that your film is female led. Be female led, I don’t care. Have your film be only women, or only men. Have your movie be a stop motion feature starring the old He-Man toys from your mum’s attic! Have a cast filled with nothing but angry dwarves tap dancing in a corn field for all I give a flying fuck. Be offensive, be funny, be whatever you like. Just be worth wasting some time on, just don’t be shit. Please. Make no mistake, Hot Pursuit is awful; it’s unwatchable. It’s complete and utter bollocks and you’d be better off spending your evening pushing splintered bamboo in under your fingernails!