Hot Pursuit (1987)

hot pursuit 2

By Richard Winters

My Rating: 1 out of 10

4-Word Review: He misses the plane.

Danny (John Cusack) attends a private school and when he flunks his chemistry test he’s not allowed to leave with his girlfriend’s family on their trip to the Caribbean. Then his professor inexplicably gives him a reprieve, which allows him to go anyways, but he misses the plane and is forced to play catch-up. First he meets up with some locals, but when their jeep gets submerged in water he takes up with a captain (Robert Loggia) who strands him out at sea. Meanwhile his girlfriend and her family have problems of their own when they inadvertently come into contact with drug smugglers.

The film is poor from the get-go and wastes Cusack’s appeal with material that lacks any imagination. The basic premise is derivative and the characters are one-dimensional. The plot plods along too slowly and the various hijinks that Danny finds himself in aren’t funny at all. The natives that he first meets up with are a bit on the creepy side and Loggia’s captain character is an over-the-top caricature that adds little.

The film’s biggest problem is its severe shift in tone. It starts out as an escapist comedy, which would’ve been alright had it actually been funny, but then ends up turning into a thriller when the family gets kidnapped by drug kingpins and it’s up to Cusack to get them out. Had it tried to keep some humor going during the tension it might’ve worked, but instead it gets unnecessarily serious and implausible with characters that are so poorly fleshed-out that the viewer really doesn’t care what happens to them making the climatic sequence boring and prolonged.

Cusack is good as always and I kind of liked him with his long hair look, but the character tends to be a bit too clean-cut. A young Ben Stiller appears here in his film debut and seeing him play against type as a leering, cocky bad guy is the only interesting thing about this movie and makes it somewhat worth catching.

My Rating: 1 out of 10

Released: May 8, 1987

Runtime: 1Hour 33Minutes

Rated PG-13

Director: Steven Lisberger

Studio: Paramount

Available: VHS, DVD, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube

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