In her latest film Hot Pursuit, due out in Australia mid-year, Reese Witherspoon is in top form as Cooper, a straight-laced but woefully inept Texas police officer assigned to protect Mrs Riva (Sofia Vergara), the spoiled trophy wife of a mob boss set to testify against a Colombian drug cartel's key lieutenant.
The result is a rollicking female buddy film/road movie in which Witherspoon and Vergara engage in hilarious banter while being pursued by assassins sent by the cartel to kill Riva before she can make it to the Dallas courthouse.
"I don't think I've ever spent so much time laughing on a set as I did on this movie," Witherspoon says.
"We kept having to do extra takes because Sofia and I were constantly cracking up. I really had a good time working with her - she is an amazing woman and we just clicked right away."
Hot Pursuithas all the makings of a smash success especially after the release of the film's trailer that gives audiences a good indication of the abundant comic chemistry between the two actresses.
The film also marks a milestone for Vergara who enjoys her first co-lead role in a film and by all accounts is a delectably over-the-top sensation opposite Witherspoon's daffy cop.
Witherspoon, who turned 39 last month, was Oscar nominated for her work in last year's Wild. She and her husband, Hollywood agent Jim Toth, live in Los Angeles together with Witherspoon's two children, Ava, 16, and Deacon, 12, from her previous marriage to Ryan Philippe, as well as their 2-year-old son, Tennessee.
Her older children have already passed judgement on Hot Pursuit, with Witherspoon saying: "It's the ultimate compliment when your teenager likes it!"
Q: Hot Pursuit takes you back to your comic roots. Was it fun for you to play a more light-hearted character compared with what you went through in Wild?
A: It was night and day. Wild was the hardest thing I ever did as an actress and it was a personal challenge on many levels. Hot Pursuit was the kind of film where you look forward to coming to the set every day because you know you're going to have such a good time.
Q: What was it like hanging out with Sofia?
A: Getting to know Sofia and being able to work with someone who has so much energy and spirit was really wonderful. It was also fascinating to see how people would react when they would see her. All eyes - men and women - would turn towards her wherever we would be. But Sofia is so used to that kind of attention that she always takes it in stride and she's just so easy-going and cool about it. She just smiles and appreciates it all.
Q: Has it been hard juggling work and family since you've been doing a lot more films lately especially with a 2-year-old to look after in addition to your older children?
A: It can get chaotic sometimes but whether you're working a lot or not, life with your children will always be a bit unpredictable. The most difficult thing for me is finding enough time for myself to just relax and not worry about things - which is my natural inclination. But we have such a beautiful family that it's not something I really stress about. All mothers have a lot to deal with and I've been doing it since I was 22 when Ava was born.
Q: So what do you do to relax?
A: I like walking in nature where it's so peaceful and calm. That's been my personal form of therapy as an adult, especially since I became more known to the general public. Whenever I feel the need to think about things and take stock of what's going on in my life, I love to go hiking the canyons nearby Los Angeles.
Q: Have you ever felt that your celebrity in addition to working on long film shoots has intruded on your family life?
A: It's never something I've considered to be a problem. Maybe it's because I come from the South, where the sense of family is strong. My mother never stopped working. She was a nurse and despite having two daughters to raise, my sister and me, she was able to earn her doctorate (in paediatric nursing). My father was a military surgeon, and was always very present in the family.
Q: Have your children always been very aware of your career and fame?
A: Ava and Deacon are very aware of the work I do and the rest they don't pay attention to. They often invite their friends over to the house and we always have a lot of fun. My kids have seen most of my films and needless to say my daughter loves Legally Blonde!
But at the end of the day when I come home, they see me as a mother and not as a celebrity. They want me to be there to talk to them, listen to what they've been doing, help them with their homework, and take them to their baseball games or ballet lessons. It's only their friends who see me as a big movie star!
Q: Do you and your husband try to avoid talking about work and the film business when you're at home?
A: It's tough sometimes because we're both in the same business! But we usually talk about how our day went and spend time with the kids and making sure they're OK. Our children are the most beautiful part of our lives and our little boy has been such a wonderful addition to our family and we just love being with him and watching him grow up.