Hot Pursuit is not a film based on the hit arcade game, but rather an odd couple comedy starring the mismatched talents/sizes/appearances of Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara. In a film that certainly doesn’t hit the high comedy notes that one might expect (or want) from such a film, the two still succeed in providing us with some funny moments, while providing a middle-of-the-road Thelma & Louise-meets-comedy tone. As an end result, the film’s ‘lesson’ comes from the very sisterly tone that you might expect.
Agent Rose Cooper (Witherspoon) is sent from her Evidence Room-imposed exile to help transport the eye witness in a drug cartel case. When Cooper’s partner is killed, Cooper ends up on the run from the cartel and dirty cops with the one remaining witness, Daniella (Vergara), as the two clueless women fight, claw, and snark their way on the run.
In … hot pursuit… are two dirty cops, Dixon (Michael Moseley of Sirens) and Hauser (Matthew Del Negro of Scandal). Cooper and Daniella begrudgingly stick together, bickering about whether escaping to parts unknown or tracking the way back to the squad’s boss, Captain Emmett (John Carroll Lynch), is the smartest plan.
But the thing is that the film is (ironically?) a measure of the way the two actresses want to be perceived, versus how they show up in Hollywood. Witherspoon periodically plays up her ‘boyish’ looks, while Vergara uses her figure to get them out of trouble on more than one occasion, even as she is repeatedly described as ‘old.’ Fans of the two may shake their heads at the way the two seem to be belittling themselves as part of some insider joke, but it flashes the way that Hollywood puts women of a certain age on pedestals and quickly dashes them to the ground when they are considered ‘past their prime.’
Daniella and Rose each have something to share with each other, but it’s primarily about the way that each has come to carry a flag of some realized or unintended slight. Daniella thinks people look down at her because she’s ‘brown,’ and therefore, not as intelligent; Rose projects her knowledge of situations and science in a way that men have found intimidating so she tries (unsuccessfully) to play it down. Ultimately, the two of them have to find ways to recognize that they are who they’re supposed to be…
For Rose, it boils down to wanting to be like her father. She’s so focused on how he did police work that she thinks she has to be just like him, and she’s lost herself. Ironically, we can find ways to say that people of faith shouldn’t ‘conform,’ but what happens when we find ourselves modeling after someone else’s life, even a redeemable one? What happens when we fail to see that we’re made in God’s image, yet individually and creatively? Sure, we have role models and mentors, but the lesson of Hot Pursuit is this: just be yourself.