SuperCop in the Country (Film Review: “Hot Fuzz”)

When London’s top cop Nicholas Angel reports for duty in England’s safest rural hamlet, he soon discovers the grisly meaning of the term, ‘Greater Good’ in the side-splitting comedy, Hot Fuzz.

 

SnapShot Plot

Even if Hot Fuzz wasn’t a great example of silly, eccentric and slapstick British comedy, it would be fun to try naming all the uncredited actors, directors, and celebrity personalities (such as Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan, Bill Nighy, and Peter Jackson) who pop in for brief scene-stealing moments throughout the movie. Brought to you by the same team who created the cult zom-com pic, Shaun of the Dead, Simon Pegg is brilliant in the role of Nicholas Angel, a razor-focused over achieving cop who makes the entire London police force look like a bunch of slackers in comparison. His job is his life. The only nurturing relationship he can handle is with a Japanese Peace Lily . . . (Hint: can you spot Cate Blanchett behind the CSI mask as ex-girlfriend, Janine?)

The top brass decides to ‘promote’ Angel with a re-assignment to the picture perfect village of Sandford, deep in the heart of the British countryside.  Sandford is a place where the crime rate is non-existent but the accident rate is strangely high, and the townsfolk all seem to have ‘drunk the Kool-Aid’ under the guiding hand of the Neighborhood Watch, made up of the most respected denizens of the town. Indeed, the local police department seems to be comprised of mostly buffoons and eccentrics, whose Chief Inspector Frank Butterman (in a playful turn by veteran actor, Jim Broadbent) punishes his staff’s misdemeanors with baked goods and ice cream. His son, Danny (played wonderfully by Nick Frost, who again teams up here with Simon Pegg) is a bumbling yet sincere young cop who’s got a serious thing for sweets and an extreme obsession with American cop films in which the body count rises exponentially in every scene. To him, Sgt. Angel is the closest thing to a super hero cop that Danny will ever meet, so he’s like a shaggy dog interrogator, haranguing Angel for details from his past that might compare to, say, Keanu Reeves in Point Break: “Have you ever fired your gun up in the air and gone ‘ahhh’?”

It’s not long before a series of grisly accidents spell one thing to Nicholas Angel: Homicide. But try convincing the cops on the force, whose attitude to this newcomer is summed up by actor Paddy Considine as one of the Andys (you’ll get it, trust me), “Murder, murder, murder. Change the fuckin’ record!”

 

“I’m sure if we bashed your head in, all sorts of secrets would come tumbling out…”

Parting Shot

Hot Fuzz is a no-brainer recommendation for anyone who loves a good, silly laugh. But like the best comedies, even the low-brow humor doesn’t feel cheap or stupid; it feels inspired.

Some highlights: Seeing venerable British actors such as Edward Woodward (his character was obsessed with removing the blight of those living statue street performers), Timothy Dalton (as the unnerving supermarket owner) and the late, great Billie Whitelaw (the cunning proprietor of the local inn) in her last film role. She passed away in December, 2014, and in tribute, Director, Edgar Wright published a blog post dedicated to the great actress, with some peeks behind the scenes during the filming of Hot Fuzz: http://www.edgarwrighthere.com/2014/12/22/remembering-billie-whitelaw/  (Do any of you remember her chilling portrayal of the nanny in The Omen? Maybe that’s what turned me off to babysitting in my youth.)

Edgar Wright collaborated on the script for Hot Fuzz with its star, Simon Pegg. The film is so chock full of visual jokes, verbal spars, sight gags, and spoofs of police melodrama conceits that you could watch it twice over and still laugh anew for the gems missed the first time. And that’s why I believe that this is a movie that really does serve the Greater Good.

Hot Fuzz is presently streaming on Netflix.

Norma’s Streaming Picks is proud to announce squatters rights on a new site for Baby Boomers, Midcentury/Modern as well as right here on my own site. I invite you to go there for more great content!

YouTube Trailer Courtesy of:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayTnvVpj9t4

 

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