Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Heat review

In 2011, director Paul Feig made the blockbuster comedy Bridesmaids. It featured Melissa McCarthy in a breakout role as a nutty woman without an internal monologue. So would the two follow that up with a dramatic, soulful indie movie? You would get a better chance of having co-star Sandra Bullock going on a date with her ex-husband Jesse James. What you get is a McCarthy-Bullock movie called The Heat.

In The Heat, Bullock plays an ambitious FBI agent, Sarah Ashburn. She's ambitious, and one hell of an agent. She's also uptight and not liked for her cocky behavior. McCarthy is another version of her character from Bridesmaids. She's a Boston cop named Shannon Mullins who says whatever is on her mind. And she's not afraid of whipping out her gun whenever she can to get what she wants. Lucky for the audience that this is a movie since the stuff she does and says would get her fired within an hour. Ashburn is sent to Boston to capture a shadowy, big time criminal who's not afraid of chopping up his victims. While interrogating a small time drug dealer, Ashburn is forced to work with Mullins to find her target.

Katie Dippold of TV's Parks and Recreation has written a script with some funny jokes. But we're not talking about Woody Allen. The gags are big and broad. For this type of comedy to work, we need two things. A good director and a cast to delver the goods. Director Feig stages the physical comedy well.

But it's the cast that carries this comedy. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy aren't playing against type here. Bullock's straight as an arrow FBI agent won't get her another Oscar but she still has the good comic timing. And when she becomes the fish out of water, she's a hoot. Melissa McCarthy is playing noting new here and she knows it. Yet, she's willing to be unappealing to get the laughs. To quote a Steve Martin album, "Comedy is not pretty."

The Heat turns the buddy cop movie on its head. It's loud and profane. And it's hilarious. The grade is A.

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