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Sunday, June 30, 2013

THE HEAT REVIEW


About The Movie:

The Heat introduces us to Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock), a talented FBI special agent whose uptight manner and know-it-all attitude makes her the bane of her male peers. When the opportunity for a promotion comes about, Sarah’s boss Hale (Demi├ín Bichir) gives her the chance to prove she can be a team-player, by assigning her to take down a ruthless Boston drug lord with assistance from a local cop.

Unfortunately, the police officer in question is Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), a foul-mouthed and tough as nails Bostonian who immediately gets off on the wrong foot with her polar opposite, in Ashburn. Can this odd couple put aside their differences, in order to solve the case – one which involves violent criminals, drug dealers, and DEA agents – and maybe even become friends in the process?


The Heat is directed by Paul Feig, whose approach to comedy – on such television shows as Arrested Development and The Office and the 2011 raunchy sleeper hit Bridesmaids – tends to be dialogue-heavy and often seems improvisational. His latest film feels like a spiritual companion to Bridesmaids in particular, for several reasons besides the fact that both movies feature women protagonists (and include McCarthy as a cast member). The final results aren’t as consistently funny or heart-warming in The Heat as they were in Feig’s previous comedienne vehicle; nevertheless, the director’s modern feminine spin on the buddy-cop formula is a satisfying experience.

What Is Good/Bad About The Movie:

Bullock and McCarthy make for a decent onscreen pairing. The Heat is more worthy of McCarthy’s talents than Identity Thief from earlier this year. You get the feeling that the director just steps back and keeps the camera rolling, while his actresses pull off a variety of impressive slapstick maneuvers and verbal zingers throughout the film’s running time. Bullock, by comparison, makes for a passable and intentionally-awkward straight (wo)man, but there’s no question: she gets upstaged by McCarthy.
Feig keeps everything moving at a healthy pace, which allows The Heat to pack enough in the way of humorous firepower and jokes where, at the end of the day, the hits outnumber the misses.

The male supporting cast are, likewise, more successful than not as a whole. That includes a refreshingly buttoned-down Marlon Wayans as an FBI agent who assists Bullock and Thomas F. Wilson as McCarthy’s weak-kneed boss. In addition, Dan Bakkedahl (This Is 40) plays a DEA agent, whose Albino appearance and distaste for women being on the task force made for an okay character. Similarly, the rowdy members of McCarthy’s very stereotypical Boston family – including Michael Rapaport as her brother.

By the time The Heat reaches its conclusion, it has provided a fair amount of belly-laughs. The film is not a fantastic and subversive spin on the buddy-cop formula, but it does manage to mix things up without feeling like little more than a generic addition to the genre (with the traditional male leads played by women instead). Much of that success can be credited to McCarthy & Bullock.

Overall Grade: B+

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