Action Blu-ray Review

'Hot Pursuit' Blu-ray Review: Reese Witherspoon and Sophia Vergara try to chase down the laughs

August 13, 2015Ben MK

As one of the stars of ABC's Modern Family and an Oscar-winning actress respectively, Sophia Vergara and Reese Witherspoon are two of Hollywood's most bankable stars. It's too bad that their team-up, the buddy comedy Hot Pursuit, ends up being less than the sum of its parts.

In it, Witherspoon plays Rose Cooper, a straight-laced and hyper-focused San Antonio cop who basically grew up in the back of her policeman father's squad car. Sidelined in the wake of an unfortunate incident in which she tasered (and accidentally set fire to) the mayor's teenaged son, she's eager to get back into the action, jumping at the opportunity to help escort the flamboyant Daniella Riva (Vergara) and her husband to testify against a Mexican cartel kingpin. But when the assignment goes horribly wrong thanks to some armed assailants, Rose and Daniella find themselves on the run for their lives. Mistaken for fugitives themselves, they must find a way to overcome their differences and prove their innocence, all while avoiding getting killed in the process.

So, is Hot Pursuit what you might call a hot mess? Well, not exactly. But it does suffer from a lack of any distinguishing characteristics, with the main problem being that director Anne Fletcher (The Proposal) and screenwriters David Feeney and John Quaintance (New Girl and Ben and Kate) stick so closely to the familiar buddy-comedy template that it robs the film of any personality it could have had.

Instead, the movie awkwardly places Witherspoon and Vergara in screwball scenario after screwball scenario, forcing the pair to compete with one another for laughs, and to fall back on personas they've brought to the screen in their previous roles. And though that proves mildly enjoyable in its own right — at least for the first hour or so — it doesn't do much to help the film stand out among the crowd. Not when Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy showed us how a female buddy comedy should be done in The Heat just two years earlier.

Luckily, Hot Pursuit fares much better in the audiovisual department. Colors like the red of Danielle's 1968 Cadillac convertible and the blue of Rose's police uniform are vibrant and richly saturated; black levels and contrast are strong; and there's plenty of detail visible on-screen as the pair make their way across Texas trying to outrun both the authorities and the bad guys. Turning to the movie's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack, the results are equally pleasing, with the very basic comedy soundstage brought to life nicely through crisp, clear dialogue and lively music, with the odd gunshot thrown in here and there for good measure.

Warner's two-disc Blu-ray release includes a DVD and an UltraViolet digital copy of the film, along with the following Blu-ray extras:

  • The Womance (3:05) - A quick look at Witherspoon and Vergara's on-screen chemistry, as seen through behind-the-scenes footage and interview clips.
  • Hot Pursuit: Say What? (3:46) - A collection of flubbed lines and outtakes.
  • Action Like A Lady (2:26) - A glimpse into the filming of some of the movie's action scenes.
  • Alternate Ending (1:28)

Hot Pursuit is available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as of August 11th, 2015. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio, and French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks. Subtitles are presented in English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 27 Mins.

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