Film Review: The Heat

by Marie Carney on June 28, 2013

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in The Heat

Is it possible for The Heat to be anything other than what you expect? Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy join together as the most lovable pair of odd couple style cops. Of course it’s going to be cheesy and predictable and, if everything goes as well as hoped, thoroughly entertaining. In the hands of director Paul Feig I don’t know how it could be bad.

The Heat opens with FBI agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) being a super smart badass and making all her male co-workers look like fools. Of course they all hate her. So when we find out that she’s up for a promotion at the FBI it makes sense with her lack of people skills why the boss is reluctant to give her the job, even though she is the best agent. Now Sarah Ashburn has to prove she’s worthy of the job by going to Boston to solve a challenging case. Enter Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) a tough as nails detective just trying to keep the creeps out of her neighborhood. After a series of awkward encounters the two are forced to work together and the odd couple hilarity ensues.

 I think it’s safe to assume that if you’re interested in seeing this movie it is because of the lure of Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock working together. Let me tell you that they really deliver. If Sandra Bullock is the most likeable actress in the universe then Melissa McCarthy is definitely in the top ten, and together it is a powder keg of charm. In fact, they are so likeable that their likeability can’t even irritate you, you just have to go along for the ride and wish you were there to hang out for the fun.

The Heat is your classic oddball cop story where, in all honesty, the only truly unique part of the story is that women are doing it. The sad part though, is that this truly is refreshing. To have full, well rounded, funny female characters is a nice change of pace. There’s no romantic arc, there’s no waiting for men to save them, they are just some tough ladies working hard to get what they want. I can’t even think of the last time I’ve watched a female driven movie that didn’t have the main character mooning after some man, especially a big budget film. Huzzah to Paul Feig and his use of great female writers! Katie Dippold (previous works include Parks and Recreation and MadTV) penned this one, and in her hands there is depth and nuance to these characters that was appreciated greatly.

Now, not everything was perfect about the movie. A lot of the jokes were overly predictable and crass (though much less crass than Feig’s last film Bridesmaids). I wish there weren’t so many scenes about how hilariously unbelievable it is that McCarthy’s character has a bunch of men wanting to be with her (she has no time for them because of her commitment to her job of course!). And I wish that smart, successful women in film didn’t have to be shown as being such a mess at home. But if that’s where the funny has to come from I’ll take it, especially when this many talented people are involved. The Heat does its job as a smarter type of comedy and I hope it will give this group a chance to work together again.

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