From now until the Oscar nominations are announced on January 22, Vulture will be highlighting some of 2007's greatest, sure-to-be-overlooked performances.
These days, parody is considered the lowest form of cinematic life, with so-called "films" like Epic Movie or Scary Movie or Date Movie ranked just below amateur barnyard porn and just above Dane Cook romantic comedies in critical esteem. Even the Judd Apatow juggernaut hit a snag with Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, which attempted to buck the parody trend by simply offering better jokes. Only Edgar Wright’s brilliant Hot Fuzz finds the secret of great parody: Don’t hate the thing you’re making fun of — love it. Director Wright and his co-screenwriter and star Simon Pegg have clearly seen the movies they’re spoofing — in particular, Point Break and Bad Boys II — many, many, many times, and it shows in Wright’s witty rendering of overfiltered visuals and exaggerated, thunderous sound effects for everything from gunfights to filling out rudimentary paperwork. In an era where most movie comedy depends on skilled improv or outsize personalities, Wright builds his humor directly into the technical details of his filmmaking.
While his endearing front men, Pegg and co-star Nick Frost, get all the attention, it is Edgar Wright’s affectionately nuanced direction that makes Hot Fuzz such a major accomplishment in parody. The final shoot-out between the heroes and the geriatric inhabitants of a small British hamlet is meticulously — and yes, lovingly — cribbed from Michael Bay’s hilariously overextended climaxes, and the moment in which chubby Nick Frost fires his gun into the air in frustration à la Keanu Reeves in Point Break is a comedy classic, a spot-on illustration of the yearning of every little boy in an aging man’s body to be an action hero. Only a brilliant comic director — who isn't afraid to yearn to be Michael Bay — could have pulled it off. —Mac Rogers