Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Hot Pursuit Is a Comedy Clunker

Plus, The D Train is ambitious but uneven, and the latest episode of Orphan Black is sharp and satisfying.

by | May 7, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got ladies on the run (Hot Pursuit, starring Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara) and reunited high school classmates (The D Train, starring Jack Black and James Marsden). What do the critics have to say?

Hot Pursuit

8%

On paper, Hot Pursuit looks like a can’t-miss proposition: a buddy chase picture staring two capable comedic actresses. Unfortunately, critics say the film misses very badly indeed, stranding the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Sofía Vergara in a plot of startling laziness and predictability. Witherspoon plays Cooper, a straight-laced cop tasked with transporting Daniella Riva (Vergara) across Texas to testify in court against a big-time drug trafficker. Naturally, nothing goes according to plan, and soon the pair are being pursued by would-be assassins and corrupt cops. The critics say Hot Pursuit is a comic dead zone, stuffed with stereotypes and rote situations that fail to conjure much beyond a stray chuckle here and there. (Check out this week’s Total Recall, in which we take count down Witherspoon’s best-reviewed films, and watch our video interview with Witherspoon and Vergara.)

The D Train

53%

Part bromance, part drama, part farce, part cringe comedy, The D Train is nothing if not ambitious. Unfortunately, critics say it’s only partly successful in realizing its various aims, and the result is thought-provoking and well-acted but tonally inconsistent. Jack Black stars as Dan, a perpetual loser who ventures from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles in order to convince Oliver (James Marsden), a former classmate and moderately successful actor, to attend their high school reunion and burnish Dan’s reputation. After a few nights of hard partying, however, Dan discovers he’s gotten more than he bargained for. The pundits say Black and Marsden are both excellent, but the The D Train can’t quite find the perfect balance between moments of darkness and light.

What’s On TV:

“Formalized, Complex, and Costly” (83 percent) offers satisfying action and a good shock, though the season is developing more slowly than some might prefer.

All Happy Families Are Alike” (59 percent) brings season one of Gotham to a somewhat confusing conclusion, but some exciting twists hint at a promising, and hopefully more consistent, season two.

Also opening this week in limited release:

  • I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story, a documentary about the man who plays the beloved Sesame Street character, is at 84 percent.
  • 1001 Grams, a comedy about a Norwegian scientist whose love life is in tatters as she journeys to Paris for a conference on the weight of a kilogram, is at 83 percent.
  • The Seven Five, a documentary about a spectacularly corrupt New York City policeman, is at 80 percent.
  • Noble, a based-on-true-events drama about an Irish woman who worked to shelter homeless children in Vietnam, is at 79 percent.
  • The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared, a comedy about a 100-year-old man who climbs out a window and disappears, is at 66 percent.
  • 5 Flights Up, starring Morgan Freeman and Diane Keaton in a dramedy about an aging couple in the process of selling their apartment, is at 63 percent.
  • Maggie, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Abigail Breslin in a thriller about a father attempting to save his daughter from a zombie infection, is at 56 percent.
  • Saint Laurent, a biopic of the famed fashion designer, is at 50 percent.
  • Spike Island, a drama about members of a teenage rock band who attend a Stone Roses gig in order to give the group a demo tape, is at 48 percent.
  • Playing It Cool, starring Chris Evans and Michelle Monaghan in a dramedy about an aging couple in the process of selling their apartment, is at 31 percent.
  • Preggoland, a comedy about a woman who fakes a pregnancy and can’t come clean without ruffling feathers, is at 27 percent.
  • Bravetown, starring Josh Duhamel and Laura Dern in a drama about a New York City teen and aspiring DJ who’s sent to live with his estranged father in a blue collar North Dakota town, is at 25 percent.
  • Skin Trade, starring Dolph Lundgren and Tony Jaa in an action thriller about two guys on the trail of the head of a human trafficking cartel, is at 13 percent.