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Hot Fuzz

April 30, 2010

Hot Fuzz

Hot Fuzz

This British spoof/satire comedy is everything that Scary Movie franchise hoped to be.  It is actually funny and actually has decent acting in it, and actually has a solid story that runs throughout the whole film instead of little snippets of attempted story to hold the poorly planned and executed jokes together.

The story starts with with Nicholas Angel being transferred from his position in London because, as the Met. Chief Inspector puts it, he is too good at his job and making everyone else look bad.  Angel is transferred to the little town of Sandford, a town that has no trouble according to the police reports.  It has won a village of the year award for many years and has the lowest crime rate in the country.  Nicholas Angel gets there and cleans up a little riffraff such as underage drinking but he begins to suspect that there is more to the town after people disappear and a news paper reporter tries to talk to him and ends up dead from an “accident”.  The whole time Nicholas Angel is being pestered by his partner on the force, Danny Butterman, the son of the chief, about action films such as Bad Boys and Point Break.  Danny tries to make work more exciting by getting Nicholas to be like that, but Nicholas follows to book to the letter of the law.  Nicholas finally figures out that it is the Neighborhood Watch Alliance who has been keeping the town clean and hiding the bodies or causing “accidents” to those who aren’t in the best interest of the town in their opinion.  He confronts them, but there are too many, so Danny pretends to kill Nicholas and brings him to the edge of town and tells him to leave.  Nicholas leaves and stops at a gas station where he sees the movies Bad Boys and Point Break in the DVD carousel.  He picks up a few things that he needs and he returns to Sandford.  He empties out the weapons locker at the station and with the help of Danny and the rest of the force, minus the chief who is the ringleader behind everything, he cleans up the town.  Now this description doesn’t sound all that much like a comedy, it could very easily be a serious action film.  However, it is not, none of the action in the story is serious, the deaths are pretty absurd and it is just a wonderful action comedy.

The acting in this film is lead by the duo from Shaun of the Dead, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  These two do a great job of playing off of each other for the pacing of the comedy.  Simon Pegg, while mainly known for his comedy roles in Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, actually has some acting chops and does a very good job, as he does in Star Trek.  Nick Frost isn’t the same level of acting talent, but fits into the slacker role extremely well.  The rest of the police force and town of Sandford is lesser known talent, but they do a fun job in a film where the acting talent is secondary because it is about the humor and the action.  There are a couple of cameo appearances, most notably Bill Nighy as the Met. Chief Inspector.  He does a good job in his limited screen time being very condescending to Simon Pegg’s character.

Visually this film works perfectly.  The town is so quaint, almost an old version of the town in Edward Scissorhands, where is has this sickeningly sweet exterior to everything, but it is all about the gossip or controlling what goes on in the town.  You know there is a seedy side to it when you see it.  The action sequences are shot superbly and Edgar Wright, director and co-writer with Simon Pegg, does a brilliant job in how everything is portrayed.  In terms of their screenwriting the story starts off a tiny bit slowly, but they do a great job of using that and building up to the massive ending.

This is one of the greatest recent comedies and one of the best spoof/satires that I’ve seen.  It ranks up there with Dr. Strangelove and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.  If you watch it and are a little put off by the beginning just remember that it does pick up tremendously at the end with an inordinate amount of laughs.  One can only hope that with films like Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz under their belts the trio of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost make more comedy spoofs.

Entertainment Grade: A-

Critical Grade: A

Overall Grade: A

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