Cop movie parody is cold follow-up to zombie hit

Andrew Gaug

Only a handful of British comedians and comedy troupes can bring their brand of humor, or “humour” as they would spell it, to the United States and have it be widely accepted.

Often due to cultural differences or, as Hugh Laurie of “House” would describe, British humor as “overly elaborate puns that may take you days to understand, with very little payoff,” British jokes don’t seem to get the same amount of laughs here as they would in their home country.

So it can be credited to writer/director Edgar Wright and the team of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost for having the wide range of comedy to be able cross over to the United States with the cult hit Shaun of the Dead – a movie that parodied both romantic comedies and zombie films.

Once again, the same team of writers and actors return for another parody, this time making fun of American cop movies, with lesser results in Hot Fuzz.

Breaking out of the down-on-his-luck slacker roles he’s best known for in the hit British show “Spaced” and Shaun of the Dead, Pegg plays the straight-faced hero Nicholas Angel.

Angel is the prototypical hard-working cop who works out all the time, doesn’t drink alcohol and is always on the watch for criminals. He does his job so well the rest of the police department ends up looking bad and transfers him to the rural town of Sandford to save face.

Typical to most fish-out-of-water movies, Angel’s new police team is mainly slackers – including Shaun’s Nick Frost as the bumbling Danny Butterman – and eccentrics.

Hot Fuzz

Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Dalton

Directed by Edgar Wright

Distributed by Universal Pictures

Rated R for violent content including some graphic images and language.

Stater rating (out of five):

★ ★ ★

As Angel gets used to his surroundings toward the middle of the film, the story begins to sag. Unfocused and, for the most part, not very interesting, Angel spends 20-25 minutes being introduced to characters who, in the end, have very little consequence to the story.

When the story finally kicks in halfway through, it finds the right pace and delivers the best laughs as Angel and Butterman roam the streets and get into shoot-outs similar to Butterman’s favorite movies – Bad Boys 2 and Point Break.

As a film, it’s uneven as it doesn’t know how to transition from funny scenes such as Angel dealing with his lazy police squad to more serious, graphic parts such as people being murdered by explosions and hedge trimmers.

All the ingredients from past efforts from Pegg are present – the snappy, Snatch-esque editing, constant running jokes and excellent comedic chemistry between Pegg and Frost. But a muddled story involving the citizens of Sanford and an underground cult seem to drag down the potential comedy Hot Fuzz could have been.

Making fun of American cop movies isn’t tough as Fuzz proves in surprisingly small doses – they’re over-the-top and dumbed-down efforts for men to watch other guys ooze machismo for two hours.

With Shaun of the Dead, Pegg and Co. hit the genre right on the head with a brilliant parody that was able to stand on its own. Hot Fuzz may have been a strong follow-up, but its two hour run time is 20 minutes too long, and, despite having some good laughs, it is too short on story.

Contact assistant ALL editor Andrew Gaug at .