“From the guys who watched every action movie ever made, and brought you Shaun of the Dead.”
That tagline alone is enough to get the cult-like audience who swarmed Shaun of the Dead into a frenzy. In 2004, British director Edgar Wright bursted onto the American scene with his zombie horror spoof, coming out of nowhere and establishing himself as one hell of a comedic presence in Hollywood. This weekend he will attempt to fight off the sophomore slump with his second comedic feature, buddy cop satire Hot Fuzz.
With Fuzz, Wright teamed back up with good friend and writing companion Simon Pegg to tell the story of Nicholas Angel, a big city cop who is sent to the country town of Sandford because he is so good that he makes other cops around him look bad. There he meets Danny (Nick Frost), a sloppy fat cop cliche type who idolizes Angel as if he were something out of a Michael Bay movie. As Angel begins to get a feel for the country life, mysterious deaths of high ranking townspeople begin to catch his eye. The townsfolk would just as well pass the deaths off as accidents, but Angel’s supercop senses tell him that there is more to the story. With Danny in tow, Angel goes on a personal mission to figure out what is causing these murders and to bring justice to this small country town.
Playing off of some of the oldest action movie cliches in the book, Hot Fuzz is as funny a movie as you will see all year. From references to Point Blank to Bad Boys 2, this film delivers laughs that can be felt deep in your gut, on a much deeper level than your average Hollywood comedy. In particular, Wright has a knack for finding the subtle humor in things like making a play version of Romeo and Juliet that is based on the Claire Danes/Leo DiCaprio film rather than Bill Shakespeare’s version. He also finds ways to slip in some fantastic geek references, such as the statement “By the Power of Greyskull.”
But while some of the humor is subtle and only for the keenest eyes, there is plenty of laugh-out loud moments to keep any moviegoer giggling like a school girl. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are the most dynamite comedic team in film right now, beating away at buddy cop cliches with reckless abandon. Pegg is the hardass, over-disciplined hero who has to learn how to switch off his badassery every once in a while and Frost is perfect as the wannabe chubster who has to learn that real police work isn’t something you find in the movies. Throw in some fantastic cameos from the likes of Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton and Paddy Considine and you’ve got a cast that works on any level.
In the end it is the combination of that great cast with Edgar Wright’s fantastic comedic vision. This film is the most intelligent comedy that you will see all damn year. From paying homage to Michael Bay’s camera motions to kicking an old lady square in the kisser, this film holds nothing back and fires away with tons of laughs. If you aren’t seeing Hot Fuzz this weekend, you are missing out on some serious laughs and a raucous good time.