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.
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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