31st July 2013
Bullock and McCarthy
3rd August 2013
As inconceivable as it seems The Heat is the first time anyone in Hollywood has thought to pair up two women in a cop movie. I know. Crazy right? Therefore I really wanted The Heat to be brilliant. Every fibre of my body was rooting for it. It's made a truck load of cash in the states, I am fond of both leads, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, it's written by Kate Dipplod who wrote Parks and Recreation AND it's directed by Paul Feig of Bridesmaids fame. What's not to love? Well turns out kind of a lot. Or more importantly what's not to laugh at is the more pressing problem – it's just not that funny. And that really is a shame.
Bullock plays uber uptight FBI agent Ashburn, a go getting career girl with a fantastic track record who apprehended a notorious killer. Just one problem – no one likes her. She's an arrogant, humourless, straight laced nightmare and therefore instead of getting her dream promotion she gets sidelined to Boston to track down drug lord Larkin. After immediately alienating her co workers, Ashburn heads to the downtown precinct to interrogate a drug dealer who has just been brought in, by one 'mad' hard as nails cop Mullins (brilliantly played by McCarthy). After a patchy start where Mullins try to beat Ashburn up the two are forced to work together to bring in Larkin, with very, very different methods.
The Heat is like most cop buddy comedies – one crazy one, one uptight one, hilarity ensues – the main problem here though is the accompanying dramatic story is a slow burner with not enough action and the aforementioned lack of laughs. It would have benefitted from a more complex/interesting plot as the tension doesn't really ramp at any point or drive the story forward with any momentum.
The pairing of Bullock and McCarthy is savvy and works well and I did laugh out loud, it just took a while to get there and sometimes I wasn't sure exactly why I was laughing - I began to feel slightly hysterical which is not what you want from a summer comedy. McCarthy gets all the best lines and her Mullins is a joyous comic creation. Similar to McCarthy's character to in Bridesmaids, Mullins has confidence in spades and a line of men wanting to rekindle their affairs whom she cruelly rebuffs. She is coarse, foul mouthed and tremendous fun and her caustic often ridiculous putdowns to Ashburn also hold some of the biggest laughs. Bullock is solid as Ashburn and we warm to her as the film progresses. Ashburn is really a loner asshole who borrows her neighbours cat and takes picture of her with it as it's her only friend so it takes a national treasure like Bullock to be able to pull it off and she does but it's only by a thin margin. There some good support in the shape of Mullin's extremely dysfunctional family and namely Jason Rapapport as junkie brother Jason and Jane Curtin as her angry mom. There is also a somewhat strange role for Marlon Wayans as a hot fellow FBI agent who seems to have a crush on Ashburn, something perhaps that will develop woefully in the next installment.
Your enjoyment of The Heat will mostly rest on what you think of Melissa McCarthy, Bullock is as Bullock does but it's really McCarthy's movie so if she rubs you up the wrong way then I suggest you give The Heat a wide berth. The sequel has already been announced and I think the two characters will have room to be a lot more fun and in particular Bullock will be able to expand Ashburn. There are some truly funny moments between the two of them and I would love to see them paired again on the screen – just give them a better plot and a few more funny jokes please. Thank you.
Check out the trailer here