It took an extra two weeks, but here it is: the year’s most ridiculously enjoyable bit of genre slumming. (Sorry, Quentin and Robert.) If you remember Edgar Wright’s 2004 zom-com Shaun of the Dead, you’ll know his affection for conventions goes deeper than mere scratches. Even his two-minute contribution to Grindhouse, “Don’t,” displays more winning vulnerability than the rest of that mess. Now Wright turns his geek-hero surrogate, actor Simon Pegg (who also cowrote the script with the director), into a ramrod, slightly absurd supercop, Nicholas Angel, demoted from his manic London patrolling to a post in a sleepy rural hamlet.
Angel’s new duties include rousting underage drinkers and running down an escaped swan. But mayhem seems to follow him anyway; he’s teamed with chubby junior constable Danny (Shaun’s appealing Frost), who’s in awe of his new hero. Wright cuts it all—even the paperwork—into a hyperadrenalized montage, creating a knowing parody of Bruckheimer badassedness. But elevating the film above simple spoofery is a subtle yet moving sense of British pride (supported by a rich cast of U.K.’s finest): Hot Fuzz screams its love, frame by frame, for Bad Boys II and John Woo, yet gets to action nirvana on its own self-mocking Blighty terms. Nervous yet, Hollywood? Better make room for a few more lads. (Opens Fri; Click here for venues.) — Joshua Rothkopf