The Heat is one of the funniest movies released by Hollywood in the last few years. Both Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock are at the top of their game and every thinking adult will laugh at this movie.
If you avoid movies with raunchy language, you might want to skip this one, although you’ll be missing out.
Here’s a trailer:
Released June 28, 2013
Written by Katie Dippold
Directed by Paul Feig
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Sandra Bullock, Demian Bichir, Michael McDonald, Marlon Wayans, Jane Curtin, Spoken Reasons, and Thomas F. Wilson.
* * * * *
Sarah Ashburn (Bullock) is solid FBI agent who is obnoxiously by the book. She is also hard-working and driven and is always the smartest person in the room. Which she very much enjoys. After closing yet another case, she is in line for a big promotion, but her boss, Hale (Bichir), wants her to go to Boston to track down a bad guy named Lassen who seems to be taking over the city’s drug trade, through his proxy Julian (McDonald). These guys leave their enemies brutally dismembered.
So Ashburn shows up and tracks down a small-time seller named Rojas (Reasons), who was just arrested by Shannon Mullins (McCarthy) in a very funny scene. Now Ashburn and Mullins are at odds, with Ashburn trying to invoke FBI jurisdiction and Mullins showing that she is easily as smart as Ashburn, despite her very unconventional approach to police work.
Now Ashburn has to work with Mullins in order to nail Julian and Lassen. Meanwhile, Mullins has to try to keep her recently released brother (Rapaport) both alive and out of jail as well as deal with a family who strongly disapproves of her job as a police detective. And it turns out that if Mullins can nail Julian and Lassen, maybe her brother will stay safe.
We are, of course, led to a showdown with a couple of twists along the way. The journey is punctuated and moved along with multiple scenes of characters acting in a way that is true to them and much hilarity ensuing.
The formula is tried and true: conventional cop and unconventional cop have to team up to bring down the baddies, with both cops having their own personal reasons for wanting the baddies out of the picture. The formula, of course, includes them butting heads, learning the true nature of their unwanted partner, gaining a respect and appreciation for their partner, a reason to suddenly distrust them, and a final coming together.
It’s a formula that works and it does not reflect badly on The Heat that it follows said formula. This is because the story still feels fresh and the characters are still compelling, because they are what is driving the story and their dialogue and interplay mine every possible joke as far as they can. McCarthy is given long seconds to deliver multiple punchlines, as is Bullock. Notice the scene in the FBI office, towards the end of the movie, where Bullock defends Mullins. It could have just been a scene for Ashburn to show her change of heart, but the burst of inane profanity and the awkward bird-flipping not only provide laughs but show more about Ashburn’s change of heart and personal transformation.
So The Heat delivers character arcs, some twists in the tried and true formula, and brilliantly written and executed dialogue. McCarthy and Bullock are experienced performers at the top of their game and they do a great job.
Now a jab at some of the idiot critics out there. No, The Heat isn’t two women doing man humor. It’s two women doing humor, and some of it is decidedly and pointedly female humor. Some of it is crass, some of it is tender, and most of it is wonderfully true to the characters.
Go see The Heat. You will laugh long and loud. Isn’t that the point?
Content warnings: Lots of salty and raunchy language and some serious violence.
Writing: 4.5 Acting: 5 Overall: 4.5
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