Sunday, July 7, 2013

Movie Review: The Heat (2013)

The Heat is hilarious. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy do an excellent job of combining their comedic talents for this buddy-cop flick. The writing is a little loose, but this is really about two women who've had to be tough to get ahead, and how they learn to work together. It brings tears to my eyes. Tears of laughter, I mean.

Bullock plays FBI agent Ashburn, a know-it-all unpopular with her colleagues. Still, she's competent enough that her boss assigns her to a case in Boston to see if she's qualified for a promotion. That's where she collides with Mullins, a Boston cop who has strong opinions and unorthodox policing methods. Their journey towards bonding is rough, but eventually they like each other enough to go out for (a ton of) drinks. Then they have a falling-out, make up, and go after the baddies. Everything goes according to buddy-cop formula, and boy, is it fun.

McCarthy stands out with her perfect delivery and what sound like ad-libbed lines, and Bullock is once again in fine comedic form. "Will you shut the door please?" Ashburn asks Mullins in the interrogation room. "I'll shut the door," Mullins replies. "You lay down here and put your head in the door. And I'll slam it about one hundred fifty-seven thousand times." Multiply that exchange by a hundred, and you've got the gist of the script. Plus, neither actress is shy about doing physical comedy -- their butts are in the air, they're flailing, they scrabble across the ground, you name it.

The characters aren't deep, but then again, they're not meant to be incisive portrayals of the human condition. Their personalities are played for gags, like whenever the subject of Ashburn's cat comes up, or when men stop Mullins in the street and ask her why they haven't heard back from her. The second time that happens, McCarthy's character eviscerates the standard guy lines -- "It's not you, it's me;" and "I'm looking for myself. I can't be part of a two until I'm a good one;" plus her self-proclaimed favorite: "You make me want to be a better woman." All delivered with a face that trumpets full awareness of the high bullshit content.

There's a lot going on this film. It's basically a bunch of skits strung together with the search for the drug dealer as scaffolding. Overall, it works. Once it really gets going with the laughs, The Heat is unrelenting. It was originally slated for a late spring release, but the studio liked it so much that they moved it to the summer slot. Sweet move. It's number two at the box office right now, and I hope it keeps selling tickets. That way, we might achieve my dream: a movie starring Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson. Eeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Now, having read this review, go forth and do what you do.