2006, Rated R
The minds behind zombie-comedy Shaun of the Dead
skewer another cineplex mainstay -- in this case, the big-budget, buddy-cop action flick madness of Lethal Weapon
, Bad Boys
, et al -- to create one of the year's funniest films.
Simon Pegg is the perfect London cop; so perfect, in fact, that he puts the rest of the police force to shame. To save face, they re-assign him to a sedate, picture-perfect provincial village and pair him with perhaps the doofiest cop ever, played by Nick Frost. Police work is reduced to chasing errant geese and working weekend festivals until a series of violent murders disrupt the small town, leading the mismatched pair to believe something sinister is brewing beneath the quiet. Lazy reviewers lop Shaun and Hot Fuzz together as "parodies" of their respective genres. That's not necessarily true with the former. Shaun works perfectly well as a stand-alone horror film, though one that happens to be both scary and very funny. Hot Fuzz, on the other hand, is full throttle, heavy-foot-on-the-pedal parody. Every easily recognizable convention is hit with brilliant precision. The story is perfectly dumb, but it throws enough smart curveballs to keep viewers on their toes. And like the films that it lovingly apes, Hot Fuzz is full of action, yet pushed to such ridiculous extremes that it would make even Michael Bay blush. Grade: A