Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Heat: Movie Review

These girls know how to bring the comedy, and the movie mostly respects that.

The 1970s meet the 2010s. By-the-book smarts meet reckless street smarts. Female buddy comedy meets cop drama. The above combinations result in some pretty funny jokes and humour of all sorts. “The Heat” isn’t a particularly good movie, but I think they knew that and went straight for the comedy, or should I say, went wildly for the comedy.   2013

Directed by: Paul Feig

Screenplay by: Katie Dippold

Starring: Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock

I’ve seen enough cop movies for a lifetime, and I’ve definitely seen enough 1970s cop movies for a lifetime, and although that is technically what this movie is, it’s also hilarious. Sandra Bullock goes back to her “Miss Congeniality” roots and plays FBI agent Sarah Ashburn who closes cases with intelligence and a lack of social skills. Melissa McCarthy is again playing into her new-found type with Shannon Mullins a Boston Police Detective who closes cases with pure brute force and an even greater lack of social skills.

For the sake of the film and the audience, the girls play well together, really well together. Of course, for the sake of the FBI and Boston Police Department, the girls do not play well together. But that’s what you get with a cop movie, and although I would like to say that we can just ignore that, the surprising part is that we don’t have to. There were enough clever jokes that turned the whole opposite-cops-butting-heads dynamic upside down.

McCarthy is easily the funniest she has ever been. In one scene she teaches Bullock how to be sexy, in another scene she teaches a misogynist to not judge women by their looks, and in many, many scenes she goes to the fullest extremes that most actresses won’t go with physical comedy and some fantastic delivery. The fact that none of the other actors burst out laughing is probably praise enough for their abilities.

All of the supporting actors were under-used. There were a lot of underappreciated comedic talents showing up for a scene or two like John Ross Bowie, Jane Curtin, and Nathan Corddry, but they were unfortunately kept in the background. As funny as Bullock and McCarthy are (and they are very funny), I would have liked to have seen these guys and others get more time, because honestly, it would have meant even more laughs.

Thankfully the next best role went to Demian Bichir. Oscar-nominated before anybody knows his name, and I’ve only seen him in one small, off-beat indie, but he should be setting himself up for a career in both comedy and drama since he was very funny as the straight man (in a few scenes) to the ridiculous antics of the girls.

“The Heat” definitely starts to drag on, after all it is a cop movie and they have to finish the plot they started. And like almost all Hollywood comedies, they have to add in some drama to make it more “heartfelt” or some other adjective that doesn’t belong in a film like this. When the girls are being funny, it’s hilarious, but when the movie tries to become more than it is, it loses its comedic edge and gets a little long and boring. Probably any scene without McCarthy telling a joke, or being a joke, or just being on the sidelines of a joke, should have been cut.

Similar Titles:

Identity Thief (2013) - Formulaic road trip comedy, but the actors make the jokes funny.

Bridesmaids (2011) - Apparently, women swearing really is funny to everybody.