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HOT FUZZ(director/writer: Edgar Wright; screenwriter: Simon Pegg; cinematographer: Jess Hall; editor: Chris Dickens; music: David Arnold; cast: Simon Pegg (Nicholas Angel), Nick Frost (Danny Butterman), Jim Broadbent (Frank Butterman), Paddy Considine (Andy Wainwright), Timothy Dalton (Simon Skinner), Anne Reid (Leslie Tiller), Rafe Spall (Andy Cartwright), Billie Whitelaw (Joyce Cooper), Edward Woodward (Tom Weaver), Bill Nighy (Metropolitan Chief Inspector), Martin Freeman (Sergeant), Cate Blanchett (Jeanine), Steve Coogan (Metropolitan Police Inspector), Stephen Merchant (Peter Ian Staker), Olivia Colman (PC Doris Thatcher), Edward Woodward (Tom Weaver), Ron Cook (George Merchant), Adam Buxton (Tim Messenger), David Threlfall (Martin Blower), Lucy Punch (Eve Draper); Runtime: 121; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Nira Park/Tim Bevan/Eric Fellner; Rogue Pictures; 2007-UK)
“Starts looking exactly like the films it’s parodying.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The makers of the zombie cult hit Shaun of the Dead follow with a spoof on Hollywood action films and those buddy cop flicks. Writer-director Edgar Wright keeps it noisy, filled with violence, charged with comical absurdities and delivers the required pyrotechnics in the end, where the film literally blows up. The screenplay is by Simon Pegg, who also stars as the gung-ho, by-the-book, priggish but likable police officer Nicholas Angel.

Angel is so good of a London police officer, that he incurs the jealousy of the entire police department with his super-efficiency, great professionalism and high arrest record. The brass promotes him to sergeant so they can transfer him out to the sticks in a quiet rural hamlet called Sandford (fictional), out in the West Country, and not be reminded of how much superior he is to them. In the sleepy Sandford village, that has no violent crimes and prides itself as being a model community, he’s partnered with the town drunk, oafish, DVD-obsessed action-film viewer and dim-witted constable named Danny Butterman (Nick Frost)–the son of the oily scheming widowed police chief Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent). Soon the place is overrun with various locals meeting with so-called fatal “accidents,” and Angel suspecting it might be murder and that the town’s obnoxious supermarket manager Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton) might be behind it. Angel tries to interest the police department in investigating, but he’s ridiculed and met with resistance. When it turns out he was right and that there’s a sinister plot uncorked by some of the town’s leading citizen to ensure they keep the village winning its prize for being the best even if it means resorting to murder, then Angel swings into action as a one-man force against evil and comes out blazing with all the weapons at his disposal.

Making parodies of Bad Boys II and Point Break action films is no big deal and seems hardly worth the effort since those films are already mostly self-parodies. Pegg, to his credit, as an actor gets the most out of the tongue-in-cheek comedy as he can by exhibiting pitch-perfect timing for his antics and showing a great screen presence, but his screenplay is overlong, filled with too many unfunny geek gags and is pointless. It soon becomes tiresome, with at least two too many climaxes, and starts looking exactly like the films it’s parodying. The pic loses its comedy when it comes out in the end with its guns blazing, and it also can’t sustain any concern for its cartoonish characters who are as disposable as is the film.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”