Review: The Heat (2013)

The Heat sees Sandra Bullock take on Melissa McCarthy in the comedy stakes as mismatched law enforcement officers partnered together.

Move over De Niro and Pacino, there’s another Heat around with a classic pairing. The Heat, in fact. Sandra Bullock goes into FBI Miss Congeniality-mode to team up with Melissa McCarthy in Bridesmaids/Identity Thief/every film she’s ever been in-mode. Both displaying their comedy chops to their fullest, one plays a by-the-book, suit-wearing workaholic; the other a loud, vulgar and obnoxious rule-breaker. I’m sure you can guess who’s who.

FBI agent Sarah Ashburn (Bullock) is looking to gain a promotion so accepts an assignment in Boston to capture a drug lord. However, she finds that her biggest battle is working with Sharon Mullins (McCarthy), a foul-mouthed local officer with roughhouse policing methods. Despite their obvious differences and personality clash, they slowly start seeing eye-to-eye to bring down their target and, in the process, discover they might just be the perfect team after all (but, of course, we all knew they’d eventually get along).

Essentially a warped Cagney and Lacey for the big screen, this is a high-energy, in-your-face comedy that will appeal to those who enjoy Bullock or McCarthy’s work. McCarthy does her usual repertoire and bulldozes her way through the entire film spouting profanity and insults at such a rate there’s at least one or two jokes which hit the mark. As for Bullock, we know she’s talented enough to do almost anything, and here she’s back doing what she does best. Her forte has always been comedy and she can still push herself to go toe-to-toe with even an absolute beast of a comedienne.

Yet despite their rapport holding proceedings together, it is overly long and there’s only so much a storyline can stretch with them putting ‘the heat’ on various characters. Bullock’s lack of sex appeal is gloriously self-deprecating but not even catching a break from a neighbour’s cat is taking things a bit far. While conversely, the animalistic allure McCarthy has with men is wearisome – her real-life husband popping up again as one of her love-struck followers (just like in Bridesmaids).

There’s some minor support from Marlon Wayans, unexpectedly restrained as Bullock’s love interest, and Thomas F Wilson (Biff from Back to the Future) has a small hilarious role as the captain of the police department. Although they and the rest of the characters, including an outrageously un-PC albino detective and McCarthy’s somewhat bizarre family, are mere cannon fodder for the two stars to poke fun at.

The Heat may not be the most high-brow of comedies but with both leads in their element producing a few laugh-out-loud moments (including a nice homage to Commando), there’s at least something amongst this that will hit the funny bone. But at almost two hours long, you’ll struggle to remember anything other than Bullock and McCarthy’s chemistry, so it’s a testament to them that they make an unforgettable duo in a completely forgettable film.

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