In 2004, director/writer Edgar Wright and co-writer/actor Simon Pegg impressed critics and slasher flick faithful alike with Shaun of the Dead, a horror comedy that was actually funny. (The parody genre had become a self-parody, with loads of disposable low-budget films that, instead of offering well-written laughs, merely indulged their audiences fondness for lowbrow gore, violence and nudity.) The British duo reunited for 2007s Hot Fuzz, which skewers the police-action genre with the same impeccable wit that Shaun of the Dead skewered the zombie-horror one.
Pegg plays a London police officer whos so good he makes his peers look bad, and, as a result, is sent to patrol the sleepy village of Sandford. His new partner, played by fellow Shaun alum Nick Frost, is the bumble-headed, American action movie-addicted, black-sheep son of the local police inspector. There is a hilarious scene (which should be a classic in the canons of British comedy, along with The Offices stapler-in-Jell-O bit and Monty Pythons dead parrot skit), in which the two go hard-ass on the pressing police matter of the day, an escaped goose, before the inevitable real crime spree, that only our heroes can handle, comes to Sandford.
Though not as stunningly clever as Shaun, Hot Fuzz has something American comedies, of all budgets and exposure levels, increasingly lack: honest cleverness and funniness. 11:55 p.m. today and tomorrow. 2009 West Gray. For tickets and information, call 713-866-8881 or visit www.landmarktheatres.com. $8.25.
Fri., Feb. 22, 11:55 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 23, 11:55 p.m., 2008