** out of ****
Reese Witherspoon recently became a producer, with the goal of creating more projects with strong roles for women. It’s an admirable ambition, and one that paid dividends with very good films like Wild and Gone Girl last year. Her newest venture, Hot Pursuit, is a misfire.
It starts well enough. Witherspoon, giving a fully committed performance, is a Texas cop who’s so high-strung and intense that she causes a man she meets through Christian Mingle to flee halfway through their date. She’s also a laughingstock on the force because of her overzealous use of a taser. When asked to accompany a detective (Richard T. Jones) on his way to escort a drug lord’s wife (Sofia Vergara) into protective custody, things go wrong. The detective is killed in an ambush, and the two women escape together.
What follows is standard buddy movie shtick. Vergara is a fashionista diva; Witherspoon is a tomboy. They’re opposites who learn to get along. But the progression of their relationship is by the numbers. Unlike the care that goes into gradually developing central relationship in the classic buddy road movie Midnight Run, the dynamic here seems rushed and calculated. Several gags can be seen from a mile away. All in all, it’s pretty forgettable.