The Heat

The Heat photo starrating-3stars.jpgBefore shooting even began, The Heat was known as “The Untitled Female Buddy Cop Comedy.”  That might’ve been a more accurate title. This has been done so many times before and more successfully. Like The Other Guys and more recently with 21 Jump Street. The Heat tries to mine similar territory. The difference here is this stars two women. And why shouldn’t it? Bridesmaids proved that women in comedy could be just as funny (and crass) as the men back in the Spring of 2011. Director Paul Feig is back with that film’s breakout star – Melissa McCarthy. This time she’s been teamed up with America’s Sweetheart, Sandra Bullock. They play Boston Detective Shannon Mullins and FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn respectively. The two team up to take down a ruthless Russian drug lord. The genre surroundings are what you’d find in any R rated police drama (violence, profanity) but then there’s also the comedy of their mismatched situation. It’s frequently mined for lighthearted amusement. The uneasy mix doesn’t always meld well, but there are some genuine laugh out loud moments sprinkled from beginning to end.

The two leads have appealing chemistry. There’s a wild physicality to McCarthy’s performance that pushes her hilarious interpretation of the role to ridiculous heights. Her character’s audacity vibrantly culminates when phoning the wife of a perp who just solicited a prostitute or questioning her superior‘s courage in front of the entire station. Her wild mane of hair alone is worth a few giggles. She basically makes a tired script better. Bullock plays a variation on the tough, by the books FBI agent that she portrayed in Miss Congeniality. She’s much more efficient and uptight here however. She‘s also notably less vulgar than her counterpart. She says “bull feces” for example when she deems something to be nonsense. She’s humorous too, but McCarthy’s part is the one that’s played more for laughs. Absurd and obnoxious throughout the picture, she presents an amusing foil for the straitlaced, unflappable Bullock. I’ll concede their odd couple chemistry is a common device, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.

The Heat is utterly predictable, but still funny. This is one of those by the numbers, action comedies that uses the well worn blueprint of the buddy movie to earn chuckles. Of course they’re a mismatched pair. Not surprising, McCarthy is the boisterous, foul mouthed one and Bullock is the polite and systematic one. It would’ve been a little more refreshing if their roles had been switched. Ah but that would be tinkering with a tried and true formula, and apparently this is a formula that works. This got huge laughs from the public. Despite the familiar genre trappings, this manages to entertain in spite of itself. It’s like comfort food. It isn’t particularly nutritious, but it takes care of your hunger pangs in a way that is satisfying.

30 Responses to “The Heat”

  1. It’s not often I get the chance to do this, so please forgive me for being a child and saying… FIRST!

    Good review, man. As I said in our chat, I’m on the fence about this one but will most likely give it a try once it’s out on DVD. 🙂

    • DVD is a good way to see this, although, it seems to be quite popular.

      I predicted this would be one of the Top 10 hits of the summer back in May. We shall see.

  2. GaryLee828 Says:

    I agree with your review for the most part; i think McCarthy’s character in this (and Bridesmaids) is too over-the-top, so much to the point it actually dilutes the humor. Sometimes a single line, or two can be enough without reiterating similar lines over and over; but regardless there were still some funny parts in this. I particularly liked the animal humor; the cat-photo scene was hilarious. lol.

    • I wasn’t particularly in love with the script, but then McCarthy would give a look or act in a manic fashion that made me chuckle. It was her (and Bullock’s) performance that pushed this into something I enjoyed.

  3. Great review! Looking forward to this one 🙂

  4. I love your last line here Mark. I’m actually really excited for this one, but yeah, I won’t expect much more than to laugh. I’m getting surgery on the 10th, and the five days before’ll be me at the movies. So (hopefully) I’ll see this, Now You See Me, This Is the End, World War Z, and Despicable Me 2.

  5. 3/5 is a little generous, but I’m glad you mention how predictable it is. There was very little (if any) moments I was actually surprised by. I too gave it a 6/10 but because it was better than all the other shit out there right now in the comedy world. It’s watchable, yes, but it’s far from being a game changer or anything classic. Alas, a sequel will be out soon. I reversal of the roles would have been quite a bit more interesting!

    • I’d have to say I enjoyed This is the End quite a bit more. Thematically that felt like a rated R film. If they had made the tracheotomy scene less graphic and edited out all the F bombs The Heat could‘ve easily gotten a tamer rating. This felt like a PG-13 movie that they were trying to market as an “adult” comedy which it wasn’t.

  6. It’s been a long time since i’ve laughed this hard. I know the story was predictable and simple, but Melissa and Sandra really made this work. Their different characters complimented each other. I had so much fun. Can’t wait for the “Heat 2”. 4 stars

    • You laughed more than I. While it wasn’t my favorite, I can understand the appeal. The crowd went berserk. I haven’t heard this much laughter in a theater since….hmmmm…..maybe Meet the Fockers.

  7. Nice review Mark. I didn’t give this one much of a chance but looks like it might raise a few giggles. Might give it a go.

  8. Good review Mark. I really don’t like McCarthy so I might sit this out but by the sounds of it it could be a good time. I don’t suppose there’s anything she does here that would change my opinion of her style…? If there is i might check it out at some point

    • Melissa McCarthy is the main reason to see this. She’s exactly the same here as she is in everything she does. I enjoy her shtick. If you don’t like her, stay clear away from this. It’s unlikely to change your mind.

  9. Your review’s spot-on. This was a really funny movie. My mother’s a fan of Sandra Bullock, so it’s ironic that she died laughing of Melissa McCarthy. I thought I’d have to call 9-1-1 at certain points to get her to stop choking on the popcorn! The movie’s one major problem is predictability, but Bullock and McCarthy have such great chemistry. The tracheotomy scene was the best, for me.

  10. Nice review. Saw this the other day and would probably grade it similarly. It was predictable and the story wasn’t too strong, but the laughs made up for it. I’m a fan of Paul Feig, who created one of my favorite TV shows Freaks and Geeks.

  11. I agree with you completely about this movie. It was very very funny and mafe me laugh a lot, but the story was so plain and unoriginal I honestly barely remember it because I didn’t care about the story. I have attached my review if you are interested:

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