Style that still lets the bride shine...
DIRECTOR: Paul Feig
CAST: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport, Demián Bichir
CLASSIFICATION: 16 LVD
RUNNING TIME: 117 minutes
RATING: 3 stars (out of 5)
RUDE and crass, but funny, The Heat is a buddy cop movie with women in the lead roles.
While the plot may be predictable since the film follows the basic buddy cop beats, the gags that do work do so because of Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock (both pictured).
The clichéd script and lack of meaty plot bring down the overall effect of the film, but the point is the repartee between the two women.
Bullock wisely takes a backseat to McCarthy, proving to be the perfect straight foil to McCarthy’s brash vulgarity. They both have great timing and definite chemistry so they turn okay jokes into really funny moments.
Bullock plays uptight FBI agent Sarah Ashburne who is forced to team up with foul-mouthed Boston policewoman Shannon Mullins (McCarthy) to bring down a ruthless druglord.
Ashburne is a perfectionist who may be good at her job, but keeps people at arm’s length and ticks off colleagues with her know-it-all attitude. While the attitude may stem from actually knowing it all, the one thing she doesn’t know how to do is make friends.
Mullins simply lacks social graces, but she is very good at doing the cop work and, being forced to work together, the two women start influencing each other’s behaviour.
McCarthy’s take on the crazy cop of the partnership parodies everything we have come to expect from the role, and there are some jokes that are funny because they invert the cliché – point in case would be what happens when we first see Bullock enjoying some quiet time in her flat.
The film comes from the director of Bridesmaids which showed the darkly funny side of female friends becoming jealous and behaving badly, but this one goes for a more goofy tone.
The reluctant friendship that grows between the two is sweet, but it is in the friction that we find the most chemistry, and the most comedy. The gags are heavily predicated on slapstick, alcohol and physical appearance and they are mostly mean about women.
Luckily they are both strong actresses so they create fleshed-out characters which makes up a bit for the fact that the guys in the film who make jokes at the women’s expense, never get ripped off in return, or never get what should be coming to them.
There are some weird little supporting roles, like the albino DEA agent who totally throws Mullins to the point where she can’t even make a joke about him. The Mullins family rip to shreds any preconceived notions created by tv cop procedural shows of police families being supportive and Marlon Wayans is slyly funny as Ashburne’s FBI assistant.
There is nothing amazingly noteworthy about the cinema-tography, which is pretty bland, but the soundtrack more than makes up for it, with a great blend of party songs ranging from a new one from Santogold to Kimbra and some cheesy old stuff from Luther Vandross and Air Supply.
The end credits are worth sitting through as the clip art fleshes out the story and creates a few more chuckles. Still, the ending and excellent global box office is just screaming: Sequel!
If you liked Miss Congeniality or Ted you will like this.