September 5, 2011

Queer Review: Hot Fuzz (2007)

Hot Fuzz
Director: Edgar Wright
Writers: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg.
Cast: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Timothy Dalton, Paddy Considine, Rafe Spall, Cate Blanchett, Steve Coogan, Peter Jackson

The second entry into the "Blood and Ice Cream" trilogy from Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost, Hot Fuzz occupies the upper echelon of action comedies. The only drawback to watching Hot Fuzz is that it will create strong cravings that Pegg, Wright, and Frost will get around and create the third and final entry to the trilogy. Who doesn't want more "Blood and Ice Cream" after all?

Police officer Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is so good at his job as a London cop, that he is exiled by his superiors to Sandford, which has been declared "Village of the Year" for many years running. Nicholas soon finds himself as a fish out of water in the small town, where the most vexing problem he faces involves a runaway swan. The other Sandford police oficers all shun Angel, except for the Chief's son, Danny Butterman. While Angel initially finds Danny a nuisance, the two eventually bond while investigating a series of suspicious "accidents" that Angel eventually comes to believe are the work of a serial killer.

The Queering
Shaun of the Dead was a romantic comedy that happened to feature a zombie apocalypse. It was a huge success and for Hot Fuzz screenwriters Pegg and Wright use a modified formula where the romantic comedy has been replaced by a homoerotic romance between two cops. Angel and Nicholas "meet cute" while their polar opposite personalities keep them apart initially. Later, they bond over action movies like Point Break and Bad Boys II, even falling asleep together on the couch. When Nicholas and Danny are at a carnival, Nicholas wins a cuddly Monkey for Danny at a shooting gallery. During one key scene, Nicholas realizes he forgot Danny's birthday and rushes out to buy him flowers. When Danny gets upset over Nicholas's bizare behaviour, he "breaks up" with Nicholas and returns the Cuddly Monkey.

At the end, once the central mystery has been solved, Nicholas and Danny realize their true feelings for each other and Nicholas turns down a lucrative offer to come back to London in exchange for staying in Sandford with Danny. Don't we all love a happy ending? All in all, I believe that the filmmaker's were well aware of this subtext and put it in for the purpose of satirizing the more subtle homoerotic subtext that usually exists in action movies between mis-matched male leads.

The plot of Hot Fuzz starts out at a moderate pace at the beginning, before getting bogged down in the middle. On one hand, there are few films that demonstrate this level of both breadth and detail, on the other hand, fidgeting may set in during the middle section. Thankfully, the final act is a blast as every action movie cliché gets a beat down, it's ass kicked, and then handed to it on a platter.

Nick Frost and Simon Pegg have strong chemestry together. In some ways they could be considered a modern day Laurel and Hardy. Hot Fuzz also boosts an impressive supporting cast with the likes of Jim Broadbent, Paddy Considine, Timothy Dalton. Bill Nighy, Martin Freeman, Steve Coogan play the conspiring London commanders who have Nicholas sent to Sandford. That's not even counting the cameos by Kate Blanchet as Nicholas's ex-girlfriend and Peter Jackson, as a psychotic Santa Claus who stabbed Nicholas in the hand. It's a testament to the talents of the team of Wright, Pegg, and Frost that they were able to attract such a high profile cast.

Fuzzy or not, this is one hot ticket item worth seeking out.

The Rating


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