© 2007 Ray Wong
The team that brought us Shaun of the Dead and A Fistful of Fingers has come back with another satirical romp. This time, instead of having fun with the zombie genre, their target of ridicule is the over-the-top, violent buddy-cop flicks.
Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is a top-notch police officer in London. Obsessed with his job, Angel has no personal life and he devotes all his energy to work. In fact, he is so good on the job that he threatens everyone around him. So Chief Inspector Kenneth (Bill Nighy) promotes Angel to Sergeant -- only that he will be transfered to a sleepy country town named Sandford. His new colleagues are inept buffoons. Inspector Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent) is a silly old man, and Angel's new partner, the Inspector's son Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), is a drunken dimwit. Angel tries to do this job, only to be met with ridicule: "You're too over-zealous; this isn't London."
Just as Angel begins to resign to his quiet small-town existence, a series of gruesome accidents piques his suspicion. His prime suspect is store manager Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton), a slick, arrogant man active in the community. When Angel voices his concerns, everybody laughs at him and brushes him off, except Danny, who thinks he's missing out on the "big stuff" as depicted in Hollywood movies. He idolizes Angel and wants to be a top cop just like him. When Angel finally unveils the malice behind the "accidents," it's up to him and Danny to protect Sandford and seek justice for these crimes.
Simon Pegg (Mission: Impossible III), the rubber-limb actor is back on top as the one who saves the day. Much like his reluctant hero in Shaun of the Dead, Pegg makes great use of his Everyman charisma and goofiness. Unlike a typical Hollywood action hero, he's not particularly handsome or built, and that's why he's perfect. He's absolutely identifiable and that makes the character so funny. In a way, he reminds us of Steve McQueen, only funnier. In comparison, chunky Nick Frost (Kinky Boots) is such an adorable doofus. His character isn't very smart, but he has tremendous heart and charm to spare. As they did in Shaun of the Dead, they make a great team and their chemistry adds greatly to the production.
The excellent cast also includes Bill Nighy (Notes on a Scandal) in a limited but humorous cameo as the Chief Inspector, Timothy Dalton (American Outlaws) in an anti-Bond role as Skinner, Jim Broadbent (Art School Confidential) with a spot-on performance as Inspector Butterman, and Paddy Considine (Cinderella Man) as dim-bulb undercover Andy Wainwright, paired with Rafe Spall (A Good Year) as equally dim Andy Cartwright.
Written by co-star Simon Pegg and director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead), the script is witty, hilarious, funny and satirical all at once. The characters are well-developed for a comedy, identifiable and likable (yes, even the villains). Even for those not familiar with British humor, they can appreciate the intelligence and sharp wit, especially the subtle or not-so-subtle jabs at violence, gore, and Hollywood action movies. Many great lines. There is nary a dull moment and the plot moves along smoothly, with enough suspense and mystery -- we don't quite know where it's going. Sure, there are plot holes, but really, when we're laughing so hard, who really cares? The ending is a bit sappy but perfect for the genre.
Wright's direction is brisk and full of energy, with great pacing and movements. There are many sight gigs that are sure to create some belly laughs. But there are also great moments and sentiments about friendship, loyalty and, ironically, taking things slow. The editing is very clever, and the soundtrack is fun. In fact, the whole production has that jovial, wink-wink quality to it, and you can't help but think: Wow, they really had fun making it.
From the title to the end credits, Hot Fuzz is hilarious, silly, and a jolly good time. It's a great little film amid the overblown, overproduced, over-zealous summer blockbusters. These fuzzes are definitely hot.
Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Bill Nighy, Timothy Dalton, Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine
Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg
Distributor: Rogue, Focus
MPAA Rating: R for violence, graphic images and language
Running Time: 121 Minutes
Script – 8
Performance – 8
Direction – 8
Cinematography – 7
Editing – 9
Production – 8
Total – 8 out of 10