The Heat

Directed by: Paul Feig 

Starring:  Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport, and Jane Curtin

Melissa McCarthy has been on a comedic roll since her breakout performance in Bridesmaids. With her hit film Identity Thief, and scene stealing cameos in This Is 40 and The Hangover Part III, McCarthy has had a meteoric rise.  The new film The Heat pairs McCarthy with America’s sweetheart Sandra Bullock, and I suspect both actresses have another hit on their hands.

FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Bullock) is incredibly skilled at her job.  Her problem, however, is that her fellow male agents do not respect her and find her to be uptight, arrogant and obnoxious.  Her boss Hale, also known as Puss in Boots, (Demian Bichir) has just landed a huge promotion and Agent Ashburn is hoping that Hale will give her his old position.  Hale refuses to promote her without a demonstration that she can work with others.  He sends Ashburn to Boston to track down a drug lord named Larkin who is butchering his enemies so that Ashburn can prove that she deserves the promotion.

Detective Shannon Mullins (McCarthy) is with the Boston police department.  She is rude, crude, violent, and tough as nails.  Most importantly, she is a good cop with a lot of integrity. Mullins even busted her own brother on drug charges to save him from himself. When Ashburn arrives to investigate the mysterious drug lord, she encounters Mullins.  The uptight prude Ashburn and the brash Mullins are instant enemies.  However, they must put aside their differences and work together to find Larkin before more people are murdered in this Boston drug war.

Written by Katie Dippold (part of the Parks and Recreation writing team), The Heat is a fairly straight-forward buddy cop film similar to the Rush Hour movies.  It is predictable in that the two leads are polar opposites in every sense.  Bullock plays the straight character as the highly controlled Ashburn.  McCarthy, in a role reminiscent of Bullock’s character in Miss Congeniality, brings the humor as the over the top, badass Mullins.  It is obvious from the start that the two complete each other.

What is unique, however, is that the buddy cops in The Heat are two women over 40, and they bring “Rated R” laughs and action throughout the film.  The film is politically incorrect and all races, albinos, Bostonians, chauvinist pigs and everything in between are up for mockery.  I must say that it was refreshing to see two female leads in this type of action comedy and I hope that it opens up doors for more female-driven movies.

In terms of the cast, McCarthy is left to do what she does best, play a tough, in your face character that has a lot of heart.  Her character steals every single scene that she is in, and moviegoers in my theater were waiting to see what outrageous thing she was going to do next.  I definitely worry that McCarthy is now typecast and essentially plays the same character in every film.  She should consider expanding her film portfolio so that her shtick does not become tiresome.  With that being said, McCarthy’s brand of humor is perfectly suited for The Heat and she absolutely delivers in this film.

The rest of The Heat cast also charms.  Bullock has always excelled in comedies, and she is the perfect foil for McCarthy. I will say, however, that her face was oddly stiff.  It was either a result of a superb depiction of an uptight FBI agent, or botox.  Either way, it worked for the role. In addition, in a fun nod to the 1980’s, Joey McIntyre from the New Kids on the Block plays McCarthy’s younger brother; Tom Wilson (Biff from Back to the Future) plays McCarthy’s boss; and Jane Curtin (Saturday Night Live, Coneheads) plays McCarthy’s mom.  The throwback casts gives the film a fun, old school vibe.

The Heat earns a strong 0.06% rating.  Although it is a typical buddy cop movie, it delivers laughs, strong female leads, and the potential for a new comedy film series.  Have a Sam Adams and kick back with the ladies of The Heat.  Be sure to stay after the credits for an extra scene.