The Heat Movie Review
Along with director Paul Feig and writer Katie Dippold (Parks and Rec), Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy bring THE HEAT in the hilarious new buddy cop film that will surely bring on future sequels. Throwing two wildly different law enforcement characters together on the big screen for an action comedy might be an old formula (see: LETHAL WEAPON, BAD BOYS and RUSH HOUR), but when done right it’s as successful as they come (see: LETHAL WEAPON, BAD BOYS and RUSH HOUR). We can now add THE HEAT to that list as a ridiculously good time for a summer movie.
Other than the leads being female, the plot to this particular buddy cop movie walks very familiar territory. An uptight straight-laced FBI agent, Ashburn (Sandra Bullock), heads to Boston to uncover a major drug ring. Ashburn reluctantly enlists the help from profanity heavy officer Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) who doesn’t take orders from anyone, including her pushover Captain (Thomas F. Wilson played by BACK TO THE FUTURE’S Biff). The two are among the best in their field but clearly have a problem working with others. How will they ever get along?
I don’t mean to mock the storyline, on the contrary, I exalt THE HEAT for knowing exactly what it is and committing to it fully. THE HEAT isn’t Shakespeare nor will it win any major awards, but what it does have is humorous entertainment. It doesn’t feel the need to squeeze in a tired love story or unnecessary drama, unless of course they can work it for comedy. The filmmakers are fully aware of their lack of substance even skipping any real investigatory deductions by putting our leading ladies in a montage of them knocking on doors and busting their way up the criminal food chain in silly comedic scenarios.
Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy make an excellent team, which is a good thing since most of the supporting actors like Demian Birchir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport and Jane Curtin are strictly there to let the jokes happen around them. Even director Paul Feig, who also helmed the smash hit BRIDESMAIDS, realizes this is the Bullock/McCarthy show. Scene-stealing McCarthy is an unending fountain of funny, able to turn every line, every movement and every facial expression into extra humor that few comedic actors could pull off. Bullock does well as the straight
man woman, finding moments of her own to setup or spike. Both characters are a bit nutty in their own right and the two actress make the most of it. Their crazy drinking night out is theoretically a groan-inducing easy source for jokes but they manage to deliver in laugh-out-loud fashion.
None of the action makes any sense. Some of it is downright absurd (like a gruesomely botched tracheotomy). But unlike Adam Sandler movies, the absurdity actually works (like the gruesomely botched tracheotomy). THE HEAT is rated R for good reason as the language is off the charts. Fortunately, the film uses the excessive but humorous obscenity as a cute little character arc for Bullock’s non-cursing persona who keeps things charmingly clean with words like “doody” or “bottom.” I only wish the same could have been done for McCarthy’s character by reversing her delightful train wreck of a potty mouth. Perhaps in the sequel?
I’m happy the buddy cop comedy is making a revival. THE HEAT isn’t quite as impressive as last year’s hysterical 21 JUMP STREET, but it is still a thoroughly enjoyably ride that delivers non-stop laughs while offering a refreshing female perspective on an old genre.