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It's hard not to warm up to 'Hot Fuzz,' police-movie spoof

The Baltimore Sun

HOT FUZZ -- Universal Studios /$16.99

Hot Fuzz, a supremely silly parody of cop buddy flicks, takes aim at that most tempting of targets: male posturing.

In the DVD, which is being released Tuesday, Sgt. Nick Angel (Simon Pegg) is a paragon of police virtue and effortless elan. He excels at high-speed bike chases. He never opens a door if he can dive through a plate-glass window.

When he pursues a shoplifting suspect on foot through residential backyards and is confronted by a series of fences, he not only vaults over them, he clears one neatly with an Olympic-worthy handspring.

But, Angel possesses a sensitive, soulful side. He carefully nurtures a prized plant. It is -- what else? -- a peace lily.

If this makes you laugh (and if it doesn't, call 911), you'll enjoy Hot Fuzz, a creation by the same warped geniuses whose previous movie, Shaun of the Dead, lampooned zombie films.

Unfortunately, Angel is so successful he's making the rest of the London force look bad, so he's shipped off to chase AWOL swans in the bucolic burb of Sandford, where the murder rate is low, but the accident rate is suspiciously high.

Pegg and his co-writer/director (Edgar Wright) leave no characteristic of the cop buddy genre unexploited.

There is portentous music (which in this case, cues nothing threatening), rapid-fire cutting that, like certain country roads, leads nowhere, and claustrophobic closeups of, say, door handles.

The writers even riff on the homoerotic undercurrent in these movies. In one scene, Angel's rotund, bumbling buddy, Danny Butterman (the hilarious Nick Frost) tenderly taps the side of his partner's head and says: "You just have to turn off that little melon of yours."

Angel responds with an anguished: "I don't think I know how."

"I can show you," Danny says, turning to his partner and looking tenderly into his eyes. Then he dramatically strides over to a set of closed doors and throws them open, exposing his extensive video library.

"Point Break or Bad Boys II?" Danny asks.

Special features

They include the irreverent creators on the film's nationwide press tour, plus a featurette in which Pegg and Frost enact a scene from Hot Fuzz as it might have been performed by Sean Connery and Michael Caine.

ALSO ANTICIPATED

300 --Warner Home Video / $34.98

Macho swaggering also is rife in 300, the bloody depiction of the Spartan victory in the Battle of Thermopylae, but here, it is treated not with irony, but as straight-up heroics.

The film, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller, was a blockbuster smash when it hit the big screen earlier this year, due to its throbbing visuals and lack of squeamishness at dispatching its victims. The movie also features local favorite Dominic West (The Wire) as the villain, Theron, a power-mad politician.

Special features include deleted scenes, plus a 24-minute featurette that delves into the movie's historical accuracy -- or lack thereof.

mary.mccauley@baltsun.com

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