The Heat (2013)

PAUL FEIG

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBB

USA, 2013.  Twentieth Century Fox, Chernin Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Ingenious Media, Big Screen Productions, Ingenious Film Partners.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  

Sandra Bullock is an uptight, by-the-book FBI agent who is sent to Boston to take down a major drug operation run by a mysterious kingpin whom no one has ever seen. Melissa McCarthy is a sloppy local Boston cop who keeps the streets clean of little thugs, one of whom is connected to Bullock’s case.  The two women cross paths and have an instant hatred of each other, but soon find they need to overcome their differences because they require each other’s expertise to crack the case.  Anyone even slightly familiar with buddy-cop movie lore will know exactly what is going to happen, which thankfully director Paul Feig is aware of enough to put the emphasis on the women’s interactions and not on any kind of mind-blowing plot revelations.  That said, there is still a strange lack of pizzazz happening here: reuniting the star and director of Bridesmaids and adding one of the most delightful stars of comedies in the last twenty years should guarantee fireworks, but what we have is a film that is at times hilariously funny and at others a plodding exercise in overkill.  We know that McCarthy is an improv genius who can spew miles-long monologues rich with spiky profanity, but must we be treated to so many of them before the film ever gets going, and then even more of them when it finally does?  A lack of self-control generally mars the experience, not to mention a strange combination of elements including a disgusting mishap with a restaurant knife that stands out strangely in a film that is otherwise posing as light and undemanding (despite the grown-ups-only dialogue).  It’s as if everyone involved is so determined to prove that girls can be the stars of this kind of movie that they are trying too hard: the truth is, what the film does best is to not concern itself at all with the fact that it’s a female buddy copy movie, instead just letting the stars be good at their jobs (both as actors and characters).  Thankfully, the better elements of the film are in the second half so it does not leave a bad taste, and you could definitely do far worse, but everyone involved here has achieved more in other projects.  Bring on a sequel anyway, I could totally hang with these broads again.

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