You’ve got to give credit to Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara: they give their all to Hot Pursuit and play this silly comedy for all it’s worth….which, sorry to say, isn’t much.
For starters, it’s not easy to cozy up to Witherspoon’s character. She’s more of a comedy construct than a real person: the only daughter of a dedicated Dallas cop (now deceased), all she’s ever wanted to do was to follow in his footsteps. Instead, she’s become a laughingstock on the force because she’s so dense, a woman with no life experience and a head full of rules and regulations.
When she’s finally freed from her job filing evidence in the basement of her precinct, it’s to protect the wife of a man who’s about to testify against the leader of a Mexican drug cartel. Vergara plays this tailor-made bombshell character with all the flamboyance you’d expect.
Circumstances force this odd couple to take it on the lam together, and therein lies the tale, such as it is. Witherspoon is the butt of most of the jokes, since Vergara is everything she’s not: sexy, savvy, and at least one step ahead of the druglord’s henchmen and corrupt cops who are on their trail.
At least Hot Pursuit is lively: director Anne Fletcher (27 Dresses, The Proposal) keeps things moving, and the film, scripted by sitcom writers David Feeney and John Quaintance, doesn’t waste time with needless subplots to fill its brief hour-and-a-half running time. But there isn’t much else to say in its favor. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Witherspoon in an out-and-out comedy, but she deserves a better vehicle than this. She and Vergara play off each other well enough, but Hot Pursuit is strictly second-rate.