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Review: The Heat

Samantha Lee
Samantha Lee

 Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in a cop-comedy sounds like a great idea in theory.

There’s the physical, action/slap-stick element and plenty of openings for the kind of crude humour that encapsulated Bridesmaids. There’s the opportunity for McCarthy’s brand of humour to play off Bullock’s straight man delivery. And there’s the opportunity for pundits to see that rare animal – two female leads in a Hollywood movie.

The Heat was all and none of these things. Yes, McCarthy and Bullock are the leads in the movie because they are famous for being both funny and endearing. Yes, it has some elements of rom-com saccharine sweetness. But on the whole this is a smart comedy about Bullock’s character Sarah Ashburn, who is an uptight, know-it-all FBI Special Agent. She gets sent to Boston from New York to close a difficult case and earn a promotion. Enter McCarthy’s character, cop Shannon Mullins – Boston is her turf; and the drug-runner Bullock has been sent to hunt down has ties to her brother.

The story is very Guy Cop Caper in Girl Format; a story about two cops told from the female perspective – Spanx, awkward one-night-stands, unhealthy cat obsession and sad back stories abound. As they explore the pitfalls and pratfalls of friendship Bullock and McCarthy play off each other very well; Bullock’s straight-laced, arrogant Ashburn pitted against McCarthy’s stubborn, foul-mouthed Mullins provides plenty of laughs.

A lot of the movie’s humour came from exploring a “safe” concept in a uniquely Bullock-and-McCarthy way – the chemistry saved them a lot of the time when from two lesser actresses the jokes wouldn’t have stood up.

What impressed me about this comedy, and what made it a movie I’d see again, was that it managed to have heart; what could have been cheap ploys for laughs in the hands of McCarthy and Bullock turned out to be laugh-out-loud antics, and despite fairly predictable character development and a script that could have been better (and one that I suspect was improvised quite a lot on by the actors) the leads managed to bring the characters to life – our theatre actually started clapping after one spiel by Bullock.

This engagement with the audience must show in the Box Office results – The Heat 2 has just been announced.

I recommend The Heat if only for the novelty of seeing two well-known actresses share screentime in a big-budget flick; the banter between Bullock and McCarthy will keep you in your seat.

Rating: 3/5 

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