The Heat (3 out of 5 Stars)
Directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids)
Written by Katie Dippold (Parks and Recreation)
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, and Demian Bichir
I enjoy the "buddy cop" films, it's the pairing of the opposites, who eventually mine through their differences in order to solve a case for the greater good. The obviously become best friends in the end as well. There's 48 Hours, Lethal Weapon, Rush Hour, Men in Black, Beverly Hills Cop, to name a few. I am not sure I noticed, but most buddy cop films, pit together not only "opposites" but people of different races, interesting piece to unpack for another time and place.
The Heat follows uptight FBI Sarah Ashburn (Bullock), and off the rails Boston cop Shannon Mullins (McCarthy) as they are thrown together on a drug case. The premise is that simple. In this case of the "opposites" neither woman has ever had a partner because of their intense personalities on both sides of the spectrum.
The best way to look at this film, and the mark it makes in buddy cop franchise is to over look things, and just enjoy the ride. The Heat is a lot funnier than the previews allude. While in many movies the previews often signify the best lines this film has so many punches to pull, and there are a lot more jokes to be seen. I am glad they did not water this down with a PG-13 rating. McCarthy and Bullock's chemistry is what sells this film, they are great together, and two of the funniest women. McCarthy continues with the off the wall odd personas, which flopped in Identity Thief but worked here. Director Paul Feig appears to have magical powers which make McCarthy's crass characters just off the charts funny; he directed her to her Oscar nomination in Bridesmaids. I also think this film worked better because of the great way in which Bullock pulled of the "straight person" and mannered comedy she had, great duo.
This duo saves this film, the plot is a little sloppy, and honestly I could have cared less about Larkin the drug kingpin. This is Katie Dippold's first feature script; she did most of her writing for MadTV, and Parks and Recreation. I can see the combination of the humor. To Dippold's credit the film cleverly addresses each of the actresses strengths, and makes these characters even funnier than they could have been. Dippold's script has it flaws, but at the end there is more heart behind this than any buddy cop film.
The "heart" within this film exists in large, because this is the first buddy cop film to star two women, a refreshing change of pace. In the male dominated world of film its surprising that combining two women in this type of premise so long. The wait may not be worth it for some, but this film turns the genre on its head, providing a more laughs than I can remember in most of the other male driven buddy cop movies. The Heat is by no mean an auteur's film, but its an entertaining twist on the buddy cop genre, and just plain funny.