Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Michael Rapaport
Having her eye on promotion, uptight New York FBI agent Sarah Ashburn (Bullock) is sent to Boston on the case of a notorious drug lord, the main reason so her co-workers do not have to put up with her. When in Boston she is reluctantly paired with Officer Shannon Mullins (McCarthy), who’s unorthodox approach and brash personality makes her the complete opposite to Ashburn. Together, this unlikely partnership must attempt to bring down this drug Cartel, despite their opposing styles of policing.
Sounds original doesn’t it? Well, The Heat takes the buddy cop movie formula and follows it diligently; the only exception is that this time they are both women. Surprisingly this is the first time this has been done and though this provides some originality to some of the jokes, every plot development and often every comic set piece can be seen a mile off. For example: A scene where the straight character gets drunk and acts completely different where much hilarity ensues? Tick! Trust me, it is all there, which, considering it is directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) and written by Katie Dippold (Parks and Recreation) is a little bit of a disappointment that it lacks a certain edge, but otherwise The Heat is thoroughly enjoyable and often genuinely funny film.
For a buddy comedy to work, it of course relies on a great chemistry between the two leads, and thankfully Bullock and McCarthy make a great double act. In an industry where any film that costs over £1 to make seems to be scarred to be anything above a 12a certificate it is reassuring that all actors have been given a little bit of free reign to make the comedy a little edgier and (shock) swear, indeed the blu-ray is an 18 certificate.
Bullock, in what has been a good year, is both likeable and funny (in that Sandra Bullock way) as the straight cop, though maybe a little sidelined, is perfectly suited to McCarthy getting all the edgier and more offensive lines. I personally think it would be fair to say McCarthy tends to play the same characters, however this is not for me a criticism as many comic actors actually play similar characters. That is not the issue, as long as they bring genuine energy, enthusiasm and enjoyment to these roles then that is fine. It is when they get complacent and think that just by being in a film and their name being in big letters they can rely on former glories and cruise through their role with little effort (mentioning no names –VINCE VAUGHAN). Among others of course. Either way, McCarthy does bring great energy to her role (helping to erase memories of the terrible Identity Thief) and the few edgier plot lines, such as her hilarious trailer trash family are suited to her style and lesser actresses may have not dealt with so well.
As the plot develops it is actually quite reassuring what will happen, making The Heat almost a quite relaxing watch. This means when perhaps we should feel a sense of danger or threat (these are all heavily armed hardened criminals after all) we do not. This once again means The Heat lacks a certain edge of other fellow genre pieces and so will not have anyone on the edge of their seats, but there is always a genuinely hilarious gag round the corner to keep things ticking over nicely.
The Heat uses the textbook of cop buddy movies and follows assiduously, however in showing no fear of having a higher certificate and two complimentary performances from its two protagonists, is a watchable, very enjoyable and often genuinely funny film.