Review: The Heat


Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock in The Heat

I probably started falling in love with The Heat as soon as the Seventies-tastic opening credits started rolling. The movie takes a tired genre, the buddy-cop comedy, and flips it on its head by having the buddies be ladies. The script by Katie Dippold provides many belly laughs. The cast is diverse (plus JOEY MCINTIRE is in it!) and Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock have a great chemistry together.

Director Paul Feig's latest film -- after his 2011 hit Bridesmaids -- has stoic FBI agent Ashburn (Bullock) going to Boston to root out a drug kingpin. Ashburn is extremely bright, but so starved for affection that she has to sneak cuddles from a neighbor's cat. In Boston, she strikes up a partnership with cop Mullins (McCarthy), a tough, brassy broad comfortable in her own skin. Of course they butt heads at the start (the film sticks to formula here), but grow closer as they work to solve the case.

The Heat is wonderfully refreshing, especially at this time when female-driven movies are scarce. The main relationship of the movie is obviously between the two women; there's some awkward flirting between Ashburn and her FBI co-worker Levy (Marlon Wayans) while Mullins loves 'em and leaves 'em, but these are barely even side stories. 

Dippold's screenplay gives the lead actresses many opportunities to showcase their various comedy strengths. During a few of the scenes, I laughed so hard that I had tears in my eyes.  As Mrs. Mullins (my only complaint about this film is the underuse of Jane Curtin) drove by her daughter at one point, I thought to myself, "I bet I'll see this as a gifset on Tumblr soon."

If you think we need more movies made with female leads, or if you don't really care and just want to see a hilarious movie, you won't go wrong with The Heat

Austin/Texas connections: Sandra Bullock is a sometimes-Austinite. One of the editors is former Austinite Jay Deuby, whom you might know from his work on films by Jay and Mark Duplass.

Missing Laughs

Despite terrific performances and the still original appeal of a female buddy gross out picture, I thought "The Heat" was surprisingly unfunny. Admittedly, my idea of humor doesn't include people being graphically killed or a knife stuck into someone's neck, but even without these distractions, what remains evoked little more than an occasional smile. Has what we call a "comedy" changed? I can't remember the last time I heard a movie audience roar with laughter…it may have been something Blake Edwards made. Both "The Heat" and "This Is The End" substituted gross for funny (well made as they were otherwise) when we could all use a belly laugh more than ever.