Director Paul Feig follows up his highly-successful comedy Bridesmaids with The Heat, an R-rated buddy cop comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. 2013 has been severely lacking in the comedy department, yet The Heat bursts onto the scene with an impressive amount of rapid-fire jokes and good times. The film fully utilizes both its R-rating and its talented lead actresses, providing the audience with a seamless blend of laughter and entertainment.
Special FBI Agent Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is an uptight over-achiever that’s currently single and without any real friends. She loves her job more than anything in the world and she’s currently on the hunt for a new promotion that would give her even more control over her fellow agents.
She’s been relocated to Boston to help bring down a ruthless drug lord.
Her new partner is a Boston cop that goes by the name of Mullins (Melissa McCarthy). Mullins is far from conventional — often using her vulgar tone and in-your-face attitude as a way to bring down the bad guys and make sure that the good guys don’t want to go anywhere near her. She’s also a loving family-oriented person that’s trying to help her recently-out-of-prison brother stay on the straight and narrow.
Both women love their jobs more than anything else and are damn good at what they do, but they come from opposite sides of the spectrum. They must now use their combined knowledge and skill to take down a known drug lord and hopefully not get anyone killed in the process.
The Heat provides the basis for a perfect buddy cop movie in the making. Director Paul Feig lends the film his steady eye for constant comedy, while Bullock and McCarthy make for the perfect oddball pairing of two cops that appear to have absolutely nothing in common, but end up agreeing on a few things along the way.
Let me start off my review by saying that The Heat is absolutely hilarious and easily one of the best comedies of the year. I know that’s not saying much, especially since I’ve only liked three comedies this year, but The Heat really is the real deal. It’s not just funny, but it’s also really damn entertaining. It’s one of the better buddy cop movies of the past decade; one that rarely spoofs on the sub-genre and instead fully embraces it and its known quirks.
The Heat comes fully-loaded with comedy that’ll make you fall off of your seat because of how hard it’ll make you laugh. Feig wisely shifts around a few of the film’s key funny moments that were given away in the trailers to make you discover even more surprise laughs. It sometimes sucks seeing so many alternate takes, but that only makes me want to own the eventual extended cut on Blu-ray that much more. This film is absolutely loaded with laughter and it’s great knowing that Feig had a wealth of talent to mine from.
What’s even better is that Feig actually makes you care for the characters. You become fully invested into Ashburn and Mullins from the get-go. Not just because of Bullock’s ability to turn such a straight-laced bitch into one awkward and sort of sad sister or McCarthy’s foul-mouthed tell-it-like-it-is attitude, but because of Feig and writer Katie Dippold‘s attention to the tiniest of details.
Comedy films have a tendency to skip over all of the minor character traits that make you truly connect on a basic level, yet Feig and Dippold remain unmoved by this recent trend in these types of movies. The Heat feels like an old-school buddy cop movie, but it’s also a modern movie that functions just fine as a product of 2013.
Jokes aren’t simply full of crudeness and vulgarity to get a reaction out of the audience, which was my biggest problem with Bridesmaids. Here, Feig understands when to drop the F bomb or how far to take a sexual joke before it becomes a little too much. He also knows exactly how to get a performance out of Melissa McCarthy that doesn’t feel like she’s going too far overboard (see Identity Thief).
McCarthy plays Mullins with her usual tough and confident self, but she also lets out a warmer side that doesn’t feel too far off. She and Ashburn don’t start off on the right foot, but over time they learn to not only like each other, but to trust and respect each other. Feig never plays one side up as right or wrong and instead presents them as two people from two different areas with two different pasts. The bonding done in the film is gradual and comfortable and never feels like it’s moving along simply for the plot’s sake.
This bond couldn’t have been formed so smoothly without Sandra Bullock. Ashburn isn’t just an uptight agent that can’t shut down for a minute or two. She’s also a lonely woman that simply wants a friend. Bullock has never been a favorite of mine, but I couldn’t think of a better actress to capture both that intensity of never wanting to give up, while also getting across that sheltered, harmless and inexperienced side of her character that only pokes out at first, but comes full circle by the end.
The Heat is Paul Feig learning from his mistakes from Bridesmaids and applying himself to make a comedy that’s damn near perfect. Bridesmaids relied too much on that shock factor of its female characters spewing out gross humor that is usually reserved for the immature males, yet with The Heat Mr. Feig doesn’t play to one sex more than the other.
The two leads may both be females, but he doesn’t get too hung up on that fact, despite dropping in how much harder it is for females in the law enforcement field. None of the gags play for pure shock, even though some are definitely shocking.
The Heat could have fell into the endless genre cliches that usually come with a buddy cop film featuring two completely opposite characters, yet Feig, Bullock and McCarthy keep things on point the entire film.
There’s an endless supply of laughter to be enjoyed and enough memorable lines to make you want to see it again and again. The Heat is a near-perfect comedy that’s only real downfall comes from being predictable when it comes to plot twists and character progression. Everything else is golden.
The Heat – 9/10