So, I had one of those interesting conversations with the Editor of the Press today. I had informed her that there would be no movie review this week because there was nothing out there on which I wanted to spend the last of my lunch money to see, and that things might be a bit different if Accounting would respond to at least some of the expense reports I have submitted and reimburse me the price of admission to all the movies about which I've done reviews.
Well, she said, in point of fact, Accounting considers the expense reports to be part of my "defined contribution pension plan" where they are viewed as my contribution to my retirement, and that the Press generously matches dollar for dollar all employee contributions after the first $500 dollars on any given expense report.
"But I don't ever submit anything more than maybe $25," I said.
She shrugged. "It takes money to make money."
"But I'll get my money when I retire?"
"Then I retire."
"Fine, just be advised that there is a 95% Early Withdrawal Penalty, and a 5% processing fee on all distributions before the age of 74 and a half."
"Why? It's my money, isn't it?"
"It's for your own protection."
"So what am I supposed to do for money?"
"Write me a review."
It just so happened that there was a DVD copy of the 2007 release Hot Fuzz lying around the house. That was the same year as CareBears: Oopsy Does It came out and, you know, in the excitement, I must have just missed Hot Fuzz when it came to town. Or more likely, since this is one of those British/European type movies, there is the distinct possibility that it just never came to town. Hot Fuzz is the story of Nicholas Angel, played by Simon Pegg (who we in America might recognize as Scotty from the newest Star Trek movies, but who is quite well known to British TV audiences), a police officer in London. He is a very, very good and very, very serious police officer in London, so good that in fact he is hated by all of his peers and superiors because by comparison they look bad. So despite his obvious talent, he is "promoted" to an assignment in a sleepy little (fictional) town in South West England on the Welsh border. It is a quiet, perfect place with no crime to speak of, and a local police force that is extremely laid back. Angel has a difficult time adjusting to his new environment and is rankled by what he sees as the local department's complete lack of professionalism. His own by-the-book approach to police work soon rubs the locals the wrong way. All is not right, however -- people are dying in a series of odd "accidents," and Officer Angel begins to get suspicious, but the locals think he is just being overzealous in his duties.
I will readily admit to being an Anglophile. British comedy tends to be much more refined than ours even when it is at its silliest. I'm of the opinion that too much of our US comedy relies on seeing how vulgar and gross you can be, and forgets that not everyone in the world is a twelve-year-old boy. Hot Fuzz is not squeaky clean Saturday matinee fare, but the profanity and gore can be justified in context and are not overly used. More importantly, the story is not just a vehicle for the actors to be adolescent clowns. The writers have used the outrageous and surreal to highlight the outrageous and surreal in real life. (That clever little turn of phrase was stolen from my daughter, incidentally.) Anyone who has ever worked for or with someone who is an idiot will appreciate the plight of Nick Angel, and without giving too much away, will cheer him on as he resolves his problems.
Hot Fuzz is the second part of a trilogy of films written by Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright, starring Pegg and directed by Wright. The movies do not share a common story, but rather the creative cast. Aside from Pegg and Wright, most of the supporting cast has been involved in the project. The first film in the series was Shaun of the Dead, and the last of the series, The World's End, will be out in theaters this week, and thus you now see my fiendishly clever reason for reviewing an older movie.
Well written, well acted, well directed and downright funny, Hot Fuzz is a great DVD to dust off and take a look at before you head out this week to see The World's End. In the meantime, I have to spend some time filling out an expense report, and if I want any company matching funds for my retirement, I have got to concoct a plausible story about why tickets to this movie cost eight hundred dollars each. `