guppy's film reviews

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Hot Fuzz

Year: 2007
Director: Edgar Wright
Notable Actors: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost
Score: A-
Summary: A ton of fun, everything Shaun of the Dead wasn't.

Hot Fuzz is the story of crack London police officer Nicholas Angel (Pegg), a cop so good at his job that his colleagues arrange for his transfer to the sleepy town of Sandford, where he can be out of the way and stop making them look bad.

Fuzz was made by the same team that made 2004's acclaimed Shaun of the Dead; while Shaun didn't grab me, it received a warm public reception. Fuzz, on the other hand, is incredibly funny and the best time I've had in a movie theater in quite some time.

Pegg is perfect as Sergeant Angel, which, frankly, I didn't think he would be. Angel is a by-the-book, hard-nosed cop, and having associated Pegg with his role as mild-mannered Shaun in Shaun of the Dead, I expected him to have trouble with such a different part. Pegg co-wrote the film with along with director Edgar Wright, and his involvement in the script helps his fit with the role. Also worth a mention is Nick Frost as Angel's inept partner, Danny Butterman. Frost does a great job, and his character is charismatic rather than irritating, unlike his character in Shaun.

While Pegg and Frost are front and center, the supporting cast members -- all of whom are equally familiar faces -- are top-notch as well, and the film wouldn't work nearly as well without them. Of particular note are the other members of the Sandford Police Service, all of whom are memorable individually rather than as a collective.

One concern I had going in was that, while I had enjoyed the jokes in the previews, I wasn't sure the rest of the movie would maintain the same high standards. I was also a bit worried that some of the gags seemed contrived. Happily, neither of these concerns were warranted. The movie is more or less continuously funny, and even the more absurd jokes flow smoothly with the plot. Something I particularly liked: in addition to the "primary" jokes, there are a whole bunch of subtle throwaway jokes you might miss if you're not paying attention.

Besides its function as a traditional comedy, Fuzz is also a spoof of over-the-top action movies. One might expect the Hot Fuzz team to encounter difficulty in shooting action scenes, given their previous projects, but quality camerawork and direction are used to great effect and the end result comes out looking superb.

Hot Fuzz
is a spectacularly entertaining film from start to finish and one of the best movies I've seen this year. Highly recommended.


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