Hot and fuzzy

Let’s see, I laughed out loud several times at the over-the-top antics; smiled frequently at the clever movie parodies; giggled when the lads turned a tired cliché inside out; and had a great “aha!” moment at an especially subtle inside joke, so I guess you can say I found Hot Fuzz amusing.

Hot Fuzz is the latest collaboration from the team that brought us the comic zombie homage/thriller Shaun of the Dead. This time, instead of re-animating the undead genre, director Edgar Wright and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (from a screenplay written by Wright and Pegg) buddy-up to the high-explosive Bad Boys-style cop action films, playing the mis-matched partners investigating a series of extreme murders in a quiet English village that is, of course, more than it seems.

Pegg is the no-nonsense super cop, Nicholas Angel, banished to the sticks from London because his high-performance record and capabilities were making the rest of the police force look bad. His persona is nearly the exact opposite of the character Pegg played in Shaun. Frost, meanwhile, is Danny Butterman, the bumbling, lightly-regarded local constable who yearns to be like his heroes from the hundreds of action DVDs he owns. As with Shaun, the send-up is as much a homage as a parody as you can tell the team knows its source material well and is having a blast playing fast and loose with the touchstones.

There’s a lot of violence and blood in the film, but it’s more in the style of Monty Python and the Holy Grail rather than Friday the 13th. The language is too strong at times for it to be family fare, but it’s a lively and fun film with enough mystery to keep you guessing and a never-ending series of jokes and references to keep you laughing without turning into a farce like Police Academy. Pegg and Frost are great together, and the success of their previous film allowed them to bring in some familiar names and faces to play supporting roles (such as Jim Broadbent and the wolfish Timothy Dalton) or perform cameos (Cate Blanchett). One of the best moves was casting veteran Brit actor Edward Woodward (from the old The Equalizer TV series). I remember seeing Woodward in the ’79 version of The Wicker Man where he plays a by-the-book investigator contending with a very creepy group of pagans (one of the most disturbing movies I’ve ever seen). In Hot Fuzz, however, Woodward gets to turn the tables on his earlier role — and seems to be having an excellent time while doing so.

As will you, I think, if you rent this movie.

Leave a Reply