Two weeks ago I was dragged into a Leicester Square movie theatre by a very hungover Englishman who insisted I go see a film called Hot Fuzz. Moviegoing isn't really a regular part of my vacation experience, as most movie theaters around the world look about the same on the inside, but I'd spent my morning exhausting myself by taking out Spanish tourists with swiftly thrown antique teacups while shopping at Portobello Market. I needed a rest.
The theater was remarkably full considering the film had been out for nearly a month in the UK by the time I got around to it. It was my Englishman's second time out to see it, and he wasn't alone. Most of the folks in the theater were on their second or third rounds themselves. Seems this buddy cop comedy from the makers of Shaun of the Dead was going over quite well.
It took me a few moments to get settled into English humor mode, but once I was in, I was in. Highlights include: shooting guns into the air and yelling "Aaaah!," drunk-driving cops, Shaun of the Dead shortcut references, a renegade swan and a Steven Coogan cameo that kind of makes me wanna wet my pants.
I know. Cop spoof. You're thinking Reno 911!. You shouldn't. Doesn't do it justice. Beforehand, I'd tried to explain to the Limeys about Reno, which apparently hasn't really made its way across the pond yet. Incompetent police officers making asses (arses) of themselves during unsuccessful collars -- much like what I was about to see in Hot Fuzz, right? Their universal response: Well, um, no.
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But Hot Fuzz is so very much more than mere spoof. Riffing off Bad Boys II, Point Break, Lethal Weapon and a whole host of bad American cop films, Hot Fuzz takes the buddy cop comedy genre up about 60 million levels. Yeah, it's silly. Yeah, it's violent. But it's also smart and irresistibly British. Oh, and violent. I said violent, right? 'Cause a guy gets a church steeple dropped on his head, and it's fabulous.
It's out April 20th here in the U.S., but lucky AFI Dallas International Film Festival-goers will have a chance to see the film next Thursday night at the NorthPark AMC with the guys who made the movie (Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and Edgar Wright) -- that is, if you've already bought one of the 25 tickets AFI sold or you're a pass holder. Sorry about that. But the AFI Web site suggests lining up outside the theater an hour and a half before show time if you really, really want to get a ticket. And I really, really think you should, especially since Robert "Fingers of Fury, Soul of Sweetness" Wilonsky just let me tag along to a Hot Fuzz press screening this afternoon, and I've been reminded all over again of what a freaking funny movie it is. If we could have convinced the theater to show it one more time, I think we definitely would have stuck around for another show.
So line up and see if you can get a ticket -- an hour and a half in line sure beats 11.5 hours on an airplane. Of course, you won't be able to nip out to the Dog and Duck for a pint afterward, but hey, small sacrifice. Check out the trailer below. --Andrea Grimes