The summer blockbuster season may be swinging into high gear early again this year, but if you are not yet ready for the mindless popcorn fun of it all there is still a chance for respite in the form of Hot Fuzz a film that richly lampoons the buddy cop genre that has been a staple of moviegoers diets since Popeye Doyle-Cloudy Russo busted up their first French Connection.
Constable Nicholas Angel (Simon Pegg) is one of the most decorated police officers in London. With an arrest record 400 percent higher than his fellow officers, Angels skill and dedication are unparalleled. He is the best, and everyone hates him for it. So, Angel gets shipped off make that promoted to Sergeant and gets shipped off to Sanford, a sleepy crime-free village that is hours away from the crime-ridden bustle of London.
Once in Sanford, Angel is paired up with Danny Butterman (Nick Frost), a lager-loving action film junkie who also happens to be son of Sanfords Chief, Frank Butterman (Jim Broadbent.) Despite warm welcomes from the townsfolk, which includes grocery store owner Simon Skinner (Timothy Dalton), Angel finds Sanford life an uncomfortable adjustment at first. Eventually he begins to slow down and learn how to shut the job off. That is, until a series of grisly accidents lead him and Danny to uncover a sinister secret in Sanford, one that turns the once sleepy police force into heavily armed, explosive keepers of the peace
Courtesy of the U.K. blokes who wowed audiences with 2004s zombie-spoofing Shaun of the Dead, Fuzz is one of the smartest satires to hit theaters since Trey Parker and Matt Stones Team America, which is the benchmark for satires of the buddy cop/action genre and its most recent directorial influence, Michael Bay.
Far from the juvenile film and scene-specific Wayans Scary Movie model (a style only ever truly successful under the eyes of Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker), Fuzz is a coherent linear movie with clear elements of story. It incorporates all the buddy cop tropes and drama fear of guns, partner spat, etc. into an entertaining movie that has a satisfying beginning, middle and end. It also just so happens to lovingly ape every genre movie and trademark slow motion Bay Shot known to film; the most notable being, Bad Boys II, of course, and Point Break, which are constantly referenced and actually seen in the film itself.
Pegg and co-star Frost are a fantastic deadpan duo and deliver their characters with laugh-inducing conviction. Director Edgar Wright, who also co-wrote the film with Pegg, accentuates them with typical action film rapid-fire cuts that, instead of explosions and fights, tightly frame the most mundane things: reaching for office supplies, opening doors, etc. The supporting cast does a great job of furthering the gags, too, making sure that their characters satires are always perfectly in check with the mock mystery.
Out of all of them, though, it is former James Bond actor Timothy Dalton who shines the most. The Wales-born actor twinkles with mischief in every scene as he pours all of his classical training into chewing the scenery with great relish absolutely hilarious, and quite the reward for those few times when Fuzz drags on a bit longer than necessary.
Whether by sheer love of the genre or their innate sharp British wit, Frost and Pegg manage to create the perfect homage that is neither too gimmicky, nor too aloof, but rather just right a Goldilocks of a film that is the perfect reminder of just how silly and fun our movies can be and, therefore, the perfect way to start the summer.