Directed by: Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Sandra Bullock
Running Time: 1 hr 57 mins
Release Date: June 28, 2013
PLOT: A straight-edge FBI agent (Bullock) is paired up with a Boston police officer (McCarthy) in order to locate an elusive neighborhood drug lord.
WHO’S IT FOR? In case you were thinking so, The Heat is indeed not a chick flick, but that doesn’t automatically make it some form of dude movie either. If you like thoroughly entertaining wild comedies, The Heat will be worth it. Certainly, if you thought Bridesmaids was great, you shouldn’t miss this followup from the same director.
EXPECTATIONS: Paul Feig is one of the most compelling directors in comedy today. Would he be able to make a second strong film with Bridesmaids star Melissa McCarthy, or would this be another Identity Thief?
Melissa McCarthy as Mullins: After the pandering career dip that was last winter’s Identity Thief, the unique comedic charisma of McCarthy reaches another high with her performance here, with a character who feels even less “written” than her original favorite in Bridesmaids. With excellent delivery, her line delivery is as vivid as ever, even if a fifth of her remarks seem to concern creative threats to murder someone. One of the best parts about this character involves how her peers see her; her male cop brethren are fine with her brash actions not because they themselves are weak, but because underneath a level of intimidation they respect her. This is a character that directly defies the easy comedy of being “mentally unstable,” and is shown to be a colorful individual who does care about her family, her job, and her neighborhood, just in a very unusual fashion.
Sandra Bullock as Ashburn: Watching Bullock play a career woman who is constantly criticized by her peers for not having a wild side is not a new thing for her, but it works in this film because she is not the main attraction. As we see in her opening scene, Bullock may be sharp with playing a dull smart-ass, but these moments don’t make nearly for the comedy when such characteristics are actively being challenged by McCarthy. While Bullock still shows to be worth investing into as she brings another character out of her career shell, she works best as the opposite charge to the power that is McCarthy’s rampant presence.
TALKING: Largely due to its dialogue, The Heat maintains a strong influx of comedy throughout. This is a rare R-rated comedy script that seems to function better with its cuss-heavy language, especially with how McCarthy can make the word “f**kin’” sing, with not much of a regional accent in tow. Oddly enough for a film that achieves unspoken equality with its genders, The Heat still takes time to knock down an albino police officer for his condition. These jokes are unnecessarily mean in comparison to a film that doesn’t seem very judgmental, and they certainly make for the lowest laugh attempts from the script.
SIGHTS: Like Adam McKay’s The Other Guys, The Heat doesn’t slack on its action aspects, providing scenes of violence that are cut to achieve tension. For what it’s worth, while The Heat story may utilize recognizable sub-genre elements, this film is fairly active in avoiding the predictable settings. For example, the movie doesn’t reach its climax on a boat or a warehouse (though such locations are included in the script like diversions).
SOUNDS: The proudly brash attitude of The Heat is supported by the film’s soundtrack, which features various rap songs from current female performers like Angel Haze and Kreayshawn (the latter who vows to “burn this m**********r down like I’m Left Eye.”) Though it’s only included for a few seconds, the film’s female pride reaches a warming moment when McCarthy & Bullock are shown slow dancing with each other to Air Supply’s “Every Woman in the World.”
BEST SCENE: It doesn’t really have a strong reason to be there, but a scene involving an emergency tracheotomy shows how funny this movie is in terms of its creative written scenarios. The operation itself is grossly funny (it has the same charm as the bathroom scene in Bridesmaids), but also concludes with a hilarious exchange afterward.
ENDING: With a scene of setting up shop of more scumbags to take down, The Heat leaves itself open for a very welcome sequel.
QUESTIONS: Can Tony Hale not do film appearances that are larger than cameos or supporting characters? I assume that the Red Falls Killer will be back in the next movie, and for what point? Was this movie written specifically for Bullock & McCarthy?
REWATCHABILITY: As one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a long while, The Heat is definitely worth a second viewing while it is still in theaters.
Propelled by its consistent amount of extremely funny material, The Heat is a buddy cop comedy that is not out to reinvent the conventions of its sub-genre, but find a creative way around them. As with how it handle its jokes, this script from Kate Dippold brings us close to an expected element, but then diverts, a mindset that makes for genuinely surprising humor and also decent action. Show me a list of all the typical scenarios/set-ups in this movie, and I can show you how all of them are executed differently here.
Without its giggles and guffaws, The Heat would not make for too much of a thrilling crime plot; the story seems to send its two investigators in a circle until there’s an underwhelming reveal that just seems to be taking away from more joke opportunities. Nonetheless, the film’s main weapon is the chemistry between McCarthy and Bullock, who play wonderfully opposite each other and leave promise for a sequel hopefully not too far down the road. Their comedy is so on-target that The Heat succeeds in utilizing typical story elements to spawn an arsenal of surprising laughs.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10