Starring Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy
If you’ve seen any of the trailers (green or red band) for The Heat, you’ve probably noticed that they have gone out of their way to mention that the director, Paul Feig, was also behind the camera for Bridesmaids, the movie that really showcased what kind of talent Melissa McCarthy really is. But I don’t think anyone out there says “Bridesmaids was so awesome and it was really because of the director Paul Feig”. It’s not that a director’s job isn’t important when it comes to comedy, it is, but it’s usually not the reason why people go see comedies and it won’t be the reason why people will go see The Heat. They will see it because of Sandra Bullock and more importantly, Melissa McCarthy.
The Heat pound for pound, is the funniest movie up to this point and might end up being the funniest movie all year. Despite it’s by the books screenplay and if you want to get real picky, it’s unoriginal approach when it comes to generating laughs, I haven’t laughed this hard at a movie that was supposed to be a comedy. McCarthy is a true talent when it comes to comedic acting. She’s the only reason why I didn’t rip out my seat and throw it at the screen when watching Identity Thief. She’s the reason why Bridesmaids is so damn funny and she’s the reason why this movie, this by the books, unoriginal idea is so funny. But don’t worry, Bullock has some A+ plus moments as well and director Paul Feig, well, at least he knows what works and what doesn’t when it come to the comedy game and that counts for something.
The Heat is like any other buddy cop movie you’ve seen over the last 30 years. Whether that was by design or not by screenwriter Katie Dippold, is up for debate. Initially for the first few minutes, I thought this might be some sort of spoof on the genre. The movie centers on Ashburn (Bullock) a stuffy by the books FBI agent and Mullins (McCarthy) the slobbish plays by her own rules Boston detective…sound familiar? Ashburn comes to Boston to track down a mysterious drug lord named Larkin and after a less than gracious first encounter with Mullins, and despite huge reservations, Mullins and Ashburn team up to track down the drug lord…sound familiar? Oh, Ashburn and Mullins both have pre-determined notions on each others character, which in the end is shattered as they come to form a huge respect for one another…sound familiar? I will say this; the movie doesn’t fall into the buddy cop movie trap of getting too serious when the shit goes down. This is a comedy and the director knows this, the actors know this and they take great strides in letting you know that when facing death, there is always room for snide remark or two about one’s character (which is what Bullock and McCarthy do throughout the movie).
But McCarthy and to some extent, Bullock, take the generic action comedy dialogue and elevate it to another level. This is really helped by the fact that both actresses have a great sense of comedic timing and chemistry when working together on screen. And when I say generic, don’t take that lightly, both characters don’t have a lot of depth to them and McCarthy’s Mullins, being played by other actresses, would come across as a one note bore. And the movie, since it’s so focused on its two leads, does nothing with its supporting cast and their characters *which includes Jane Curtin, Marlon Wayans, comedian Bill Burr and Biff Tanner himself, Thomas Wilson). In fact, they could’ve saved some money by not casting any supporting roles and it wouldn’t have mattered, this is Bullocks and McCarthy’s show and their show only. But I’m ok with that, because The Heat gives it back by letting McCarthy be McCarthy and that currency, in the comedy world right now, is priceless.
And despite a running time of 2 hours, I never felt liked the movie dragged at all. Yes, 20 minutes or so couldn’t been cut out, but that might have meant cutting out some laughs. I know I’ve said in the past that comedy is tough to write about or even recommend. But I think this is one of those rare occurrences where I can whole heartedly say to everyone, go check this out, it’s pretty f**king funny.