Steve Coogan swaps a Partridge for a broad-chested American Eagle in his latest comedy that sees him take a familiar flight plan similar to that of Scrooged and even his Paul Rudd co-starring comedy Ideal Home. Hot Air sees him as a right-wing fork-tongued radio host, Lionel Macomb who’s view is the only one that matters, regardless of his listeners dropping in numbers.
Things take a somewhat predictable turn of events though when his estranged niece, Tess (Escape Room’s Taylor Russell) knocks on his door looking for a place to rest her weary head. So begins the reluctant guardian going from grumpy to good-hearted thanks to this new arrival, it’s just the journey getting there that could’ve done with some more fine-tuning.
No stranger to going for laughs so close to the bone you can practically smell the marrow, this feels like the perfect character for Coogan to work with, but the outcome we get is far tamer than you’d hope for. Macomb is a nasty piece of work, but with this rather routine archetype, he’s not the arse you love to hate – he’s just an arse, and that’s it. Macomb lacks the wit and banter-laced bite you know Coogan is capable of leading to his character being a loathed one you never really learn to love.
On the other hand, supporting talent is welcome when it gets the chance to shine. Neve Campbell as Macomb’s publicist Valerie is a perplexing addition, posing as one of the few people that sees the good in Macomb, even if it’s hardly on display until the third act also reminding you that the world needs more Neve.
As for Russell, she delivers a commendable match to her grouchy opinionated Uncle but there’s no real spark that makes you hope they end up one big happy family in the end. Ultimately, Hot Air runs on fumes for most of its runtime, rarely reaching the highs it has every opportunity to reach.
Signature Entertainment presents Hot Air on Digital HD 2nd September
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