Paul Feig knows his way around a comedy or two, being the man behind the box office smash Bridesmaids. With the new film The Heat he re-teams with his Academy Award nominated star Melissa McCarthy in a cop buddy comedy with a female twist. With the success of Identity Thief, Melissa McCarthy has shot to the top of studios must cast list. It seems America has fallen in love with this former Gilmore Girl alumni.
In The Heat, McCarthy plays another foul mouthed and ill tempered woman this time, Shannon Mullins a police detective who unwittingly become partners with FBI special agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock). While Mullins is brazen and over the top crazy, Ashburn is controlled and always one step ahead of the criminals she goes after much to the chagrin of her FBI counterparts.
Ashburn is trying to get a promotion and heads to Boston to stop a drug lord which will cement her front runner status. Mullins being on the tail of someone in the same drug circle steals an FBI file so she can have the upper hand in the investigation. Ashburn and Mullins fight and bicker but when Ashburn’s boss tells her that working with the local Police is key to her promotion they are forced into getting along.
Two competing FBI agents are called in to help with the case and the race is on to find out who the kingpin is. Mullins brother, (Michael Rappaport) gets caught in the mix and even though Mullins helped send him to prison he still loves his sister. He’s mixed up with drug lords even though Mullins keeps trying to get him out of the game.
While the plot may not be groundbreaking in anyway, Bullock and McCarthy have a great chemistry even though Melissa McCarthy chews the scenery like she’s in the middle of an unseen Saturday Night Live sketch. In fact McCarthy is so over the top, it’s jarring at times. How did this person even get a job as a detective? It’s established she’s good at her job, but if she can’t hold a conversation without throwing something there’s no way she could hold a job.
Bullock on the other hand plays Ashburn slightly less like she’s in Miss Congeniality 3. She grounds the film and while McCarthy is sailing into the heavens, she brings it back down to earth. Here, Bullock is given the thankless task of being the straight-woman to McCarthy but judging by the film she doesn’t seem to mind. It’s unfortunate then that the material doesn’t live up to this powerhouse duo.
The main problem with the film is the script itself. It’s heavy on inconsequential plot and devoid of any kind of natural character development. McCarthy’s Mullin’s is so over the top it’s hard to care about her, let alone relate to her. For the first 30 minutes of the film she is almost unlikable. Bullock’s, Ashburn fares better but not by much, both characters are so hard to deal with it almost chokes the film of any breath.
It’s to the films credit then that it still holds together, with some funny set pieces with all of this baggage to deal with. Sandra Bullock is a great comic actress and she has a flair for physical comedy. The scene with her trying to give a man the heimlich maneuver is hysterical. It’s sad that there are so few of those moments in The Heat.
The Heat looks awesome on blu-ray. Shot primarily in Boston the film alternates between the grittiness of everyday life and the luster of a high rise. The high definition brings both out and helps accent the films sets.
The special features are plentiful there is a rated and unrated version of the film and eight different featurettes, the best being Acting Master Class which is like an extended gag reel. There are also commentary tracks, an odd Premiere feature which lets you pretend to be at the world premiere but is basically just audience noise.
The coolest feature is that the Original lineup from Mystery Science Theater 3000 does a new commentary for the film. It’s not perfect but it’s pretty funny.
All is all, you could do worse than spend a couple hours with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. While it’s not their best work it’s still a fun diversion and worthy of checking out.
The Heat is out not on blu-ray.
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