“Hot Pursuit”


            This one is already being lambasted as a comedy with no timing and nothing funny.  Ouch.  But it’s not that bad, really.  Sure, it’s a piece of fluff, but it’s kinda cute and harmless and at least mildly amusing.  What’s wrong with that?

            Reese Witherspoon plays Cooper, a strictly by-the-book cop who, in trying all her life to emulate her policeman father, winds up taking herself way too seriously.  She’s pretty much memorized the law enforcement code, and has a tendency to recite paragraph and verse enough to annoy even the insiders.  She’s so uptight in dealing with the public that once, when she heard a frat boy cry “shotgun,” she assumed he was armed and tasered him while he spilled his drink on himself, causing his shirt to catch on fire.  Turns out he was the Mayor’s son, so now Cooper has unfortunately sullied her father’s good name, in that whenever local cops mess up and make dumb mistakes they now say they “Coopered.”  Cooper herself is relegated to the evidence room, where, of course, she also takes herself too seriously, but the fact that she’s become the departmental joke causes the chief to underestimate her.

            It seems there’s a need for a female cop to accompany a (male) federal agent, in order to escort a drug dealer and his wife to court so they can testify against the big drug lord.  But this deal goes bad before it starts, as two different sets of assassins arrive to prevent the thug’s testimony, and in the ensuing melee, somehow Cooper winds up escaping with the wife, Daniella (Sofia Vergera).  Now we’ve set the stage for the female buddy comedy, except that they start out not liking each other, of course.  Along the way, Cooper learns that the world isn’t as by-the-book as she would like, and Daniella learns that not all cops are corrupt or incompetent, some are merely painfully neurotic.  Of course their many escapes are unlikely, as are the comical chase scenes with the drug gang hit men.  But hey, we’re just out for a few chuckles here.  This isn’t supposed to be hard-edged realistic.  Just a little lighthearted fluff, with outtakes during the credits. A true popcorn movie.


Questions For Discussion:

1)      When have you been determined to do things “by the book” in the Church, but found that others thought you were taking yourself too seriously?

2)      How do you find yourself responding to the by-laws writers and procedure keepers in congregations?

3)      Have you been in a situation where you were really disappointed in someone who was supposed to know better?  How did you respond?  Looking back, do you now wish you had responded differently?


Dr. Ronald P. Salfen is the Supply Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Kaufman, Texas