Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demian Bichir
Directed by: Paul Fieg (“Bridesmaids”)
Written by: Katie Dippold (TV’s “Parks and Recreation”)
Predictable and cliché with its been-there-done-that buddy-cop storyline, “The Heat” starts off making you want to yell out for a more inventive narrative. However, once the undeniably funny and addicting onscreen chemistry of actresses Sandra Bullock (“The Proposal”) and Melissa McCarthy (“Bridesmaids”) gets rolling, its flaws are almost forgivable.
Much like her character in 2000’s “Miss Congeniality,” Bullock prevails in bringing to life the uptight special agent Sarah Ashburn, who is sent to Boston and paired up with the loud and obnoxious Detective Mullins (McCarthy) to nab a drug lord.
Bullock’s ingenious comedic timing and quirky flavor allows her to serve up another character you can’t help but enjoy. It’s a testament to Bullock’s talent as a comedian. She can create a likeable persona that would be beyond irritating if the character existed in real life. While McCarthy was unable to deliver anything noteworthy in her last two films, “Identity Thief” and “Hangover 3,” she proves she still has something to offer alongside Bullock. With her own hilarious take on a foul-mouthed detective, credit McCarthy as the prime source of laughs this go-around.
Considering this summer’s comedic mishaps, including “The Internship” and the aforementioned “Hangover” sequel, “The Heat’s” fast-paced quips and usually triumphant punchlines (in practically every scene) make this movie one of the few you can look to for a comedy fix this season. It’s especially helpful that director Paul Fieg (“Bridesmaids”) knows when to step out of the way and let his cast reign. Here, Bullock and McCarthy’s improv skills are fantastic.
Entertaining as it is with its blend of slapstick and on-the-spot comedy, there are still several things that will make you wonder what Fieg was thinking during pre-production. The biggest puzzle of them all is the miscasting of supporting actors Marlon Wayans (“A Haunted House”), Dan Bakkedahl (TV’s “Veep”), and Taran Killam (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”). Incapable of contributing anything to first-time screenwriter Katie Dippold’s narrative, which is quite formulaic at times, their presence on screen simply becomes annoying. These characters only disrupt the slightly awkward but growing friendship between Bullock and McCarthy throughout the film.
While it’s impossible to deny that Bullock and McCarthy’s characters are nothing new in the buddy-cop subgenre (see “Men and Black”, “Lethal Weapon” and “Starsky and Hutch” just to name a few), the girls are able to put their own spin on the set-up. More importantly, the laughs are consistently on target.