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I am picky when it comes to British coppers: the best ones are the grumpy crooks with a heart of gold (“Life on Mars” still ranks way up there with the best television shows I have ever seen, thanks to Philip Glenister’s “guv”). That means that the diligent and over-eager Nicholas Angel played by Simon Pegg in Hot Fuzz is not to my immediate liking. From minute one, there is no doubt, of course, that this bore-master with the 100 metres dash school record and the Japanese lily pot plant will move towards guv territory over the duration of the movie, and that’s a good thing.

What Wright and Pegg do in their script, however, is take a genre that always lived off its satiric oddball main and side characters and satirise it – the way they satirised the zombie genre in “Shawn of the Dead”. It does not work the same way here, of course, seeing that there is not much to be satiric about satire, they are looking for other weird perspectives, and find them in action and horror.

It’s not as effective as in “Shawn”, I have to say. While there are very funny lines (my favourite being a phone conversation about “decaffeinated bodies”), the whole film bounces up and down the funny ladder rather randomly. The local shopkeeper “Skinner” (played by Timothy Dalton who looks like the dude’s barstool drinking companion these days) is supposed to be the evil centre but is drawn in too broad strokes. An abundance of splendid character actors, many of which have proven to be very apt at comedy, populate the film, but most of them have very little to do (most sadly Bill “Christmas Is All Around You” Nighy and Steve Coogan). There is a finale stressing that Neighbourhood Watch is something to run away from, but then again it is too slapstick-heavy to be really funny in a clever way. The hero’s companion is treated as a walking fat joke. And there are moments of violence that just seem out of place in the overall atmosphere of the movie. I was entertained, no doubt about it, but was very much hoping that the last part of the whatever it’s called trilogy will be a bit more coherent than this.

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/hot_fuzz/

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