I recently enjoyed taking my daughter to see a couple of movies she wanted to see, Pitch Perfect 2 and Hot Pursuit. I love summer for the incredible array of action movies (Yay! Things go boom!) but my eldest is not a real action fan and my youngest is in Florida.
Still I love going to the movies with my girls, regardless of the movie. It gives me the excuse to sit in the dark and have a soda (something I try not to do at home). If I’m lucky, the soda is a Coke Icee! Also all of my girls want to see Jurassic World. Hurry up June!
Hot Pursuit (2015) – Rated PG-13
“An uptight and by-the-book cop tries to protect the outgoing widow of a drug boss as they race through Texas pursued by crooked cops and murderous gunmen.”
Comedies come in all shapes and sizes. They can be dark social critiques (Heathers, Election), sharp film satires (Austin Powers, Hot Fuzz), charmingly playful (The Princess Bride), raunchy (anything by The Farrelly Brothers), raunchy and heartfelt (anything by Judd Apatow), animated (Despicable Me), and any of many other flavors. The only real requirement of a comedy is that it be funny.
Sadly, Hot Pursuit is fairly unfunny. Oh sure there is a great running gag with TV reports constantly changing. There are some jokes that work well but most fall terribly flat. The best jokes are a few outtakes during the end credits.
On paper, Hot Pursuit seems like a great idea. During the great summer testosterone blowout of Avengers and Mad Max, we’ll release an action comedy directed by a woman (Anne Fletcher) and starring an Oscar-winning actress (Reese Witherspoon) alongside a four-time Golden Globe nominee (Sofia Vergara). Unfortunately Witherspoon and Vergara have zero chemistry and Vergara is not very good.
This is director Anne Fletcher’s fifth feature film. I have to admit to not having seen her other four films, Step Up, 27 Dresses, The Proposal, and The Guilt Trip. Her last film, The Guilt Trip, received dismal reviews and dropped out of theaters quickly. She, or the second unit director, does not know how to film an action sequence. There are a handful of them in the film and none of them are memorable. If you make an action comedy where the action is boring and the comedy lacking, then you have doubly failed.
Both writers, David Feeney and John Quaintance, have written almost exclusively for television. They have worked, individually or together, on 2 Broke Girls, Ben and Kate, Perfect Couples, Whitney, and According to Jim. Quaintance wrote six of the episodes of the ill-fated Joey series,a Friends spinoff. I don’t know about the series but the movie dialogue just isn’t funny.
Pitch Perfect 2 (2015) – Rated PG-13
“After a humiliating command performance at Lincoln Center, the Barden Bellas enter an international competition that no American group has ever won in order to regain their status and right to perform.”
Well, this is an astonishingly easy one to review. As with many sequels, Pitch Perfect 2 is just Pitch Perfect with some of the dials turned up. There are new Bellas, many more songs, and a new, more professional enemy in Das Sound Machine. The lead members of Das Sound Machine are played by Birgitte Hjort Sorensen and YouTube sensation Flula Borg. The joke quotient has been upped but thankfully they have reduced the amount of vomit.
Beca (Anna Kendrick) was the new girl so in 2, Emily (Hailee Steinfeld) is the new girl and Beca is in charge. After a flagrant wardrobe malfunction (Holy plot point, Batman!), the Bellas are disgraced and removed from contention in the Nationals. Naturally this means they have to compete on the world stage.
If Pitch Perfect was your cup of tea, then Pitch Perfect 2 will fit the bill. If you felt that Pitch Perfect was just warmed over Bring It On (itself spawning many sequels), substituting acapella for gymnastics, Pitch Perfect 2 will not make you a believer. Pitch Perfect 2 is an assembly line product giving you more of the same.
Depending on the box office, Pitch Perfect 3 will either be theatrical or straight to DVD but it will happen.