HOT FUZZ (2007)
Starring Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Steve Coogan, Timothy Dalton, Paul Freeman, Anne Reid, Billie Whitelaw, Stuart Wilson and Edward Woodward.
Screenplay by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.
Directed by Edgar Wright.
Distributed by Rogue Pictures. 121 minutes. Rated R.
Just the idea of Hot Fuzz is so wonderfully whimsical that it could only be made by the British.
Sgt. Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is the ultimate London super-cop. Anyone who takes the law in their own hands in the city — thieves, killers, vandals, video pirates, jaywalkers, anything — find themselves on the receiving end of a swift lesson in justice.
When his job performance is so overwhelming that the rest of the London police force looks bad, instead of raising their own performance, the London PD farms him out to a tiny village in the British countryside. Sandford is one of those idyllic villages which you only see on Masterpiece Theater, the type of place where a police emergency is a runaway swan. Angel, a completely humorless man, is lost in a world where there is no serious crime.
Feeling utterly at odds with the town which he is now responsible for keeping watch over, Angel befriends PFC Danny Butterman, the buffoonish, hard-drinking, black-sheep son of the local Constable. Butterman is slightly slow, a little goofy and worships the films of Michael Bay and John Woo. He is awed by the big city lawman.
As a man who is used to finding the worst in people, Angel sees suspicious things behind every corner, despite the sweet-tempered exuberance of the slightly eccentric locals (including such Brit superstars as Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Timothy Dalton, Billie Whitelaw and Edward Woodward.). When a series of “accidents” starts killing the townspeople, Angel finds it nearly impossible to convince anyone that foul play is afoot.
It’s an interesting story, though of course the plot itself is somewhat secondary.
What is even more important is the Hot Fuzz has some of the most wonderfully demented punchlines and comic situations of any film in the last few years. The team of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright, who created the surprising zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead a few years ago, are obviously film geeks of the first order. Their passion for the styles and clichés of genre filmmaking are catching.
Unfortunately, just like Shaun of the Dead before it, the movie loses the plot a bit in the last act. The cartoonish violence gets pumped up to such an extreme level that the delicate balancing act that Pegg and Wright have been pulling off so successfully gets completely steamrollered.
The gaffe certainly isn’t fatal. Hot Fuzz is still a very solid comedy. It just might have been even better had they dialed it down just a bit at the end. (4/07)
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: March 3, 2007.