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The Heat (2013)

Josh Reviews The Heat

August 22nd, 2013

If I had just been considering it based on the plot description, The Heat is probably not a movie I would have gone to see.  But director Paul Feig’s projects always have my attention.  (Mr. Feig is the creator of the brilliant Freaks and Geeks, and most recently he directed the very funny Bridesmaids).  So I suspected that The Heat would be worth catching.  And, indeed, it was!  It is not as hilarious, nor as unique, as Bridesmaids was.  But it is still a very funny film, and a far cleverer one than it looked to me from the trailers.

The Heat is, basically, Lethal Weapon with two women instead of two men.  It’s a buddy cop movie, in which is straight-laced, by-the-book cop is paired up with an unpredictable, wild cop.  It’s a comedic film, but it’s not a spoof.  There is serious action and a real threat present for our heroes.  Like I said, it’s Lethal Weapon!  There is a simplicity to that idea — Lethal Weapon with chicks! — that might feel too easy to some (and, indeed, that is why I wrote above that The Heat didn’t feel to me as unique a film as Bridesmaids was), but I found it to be a surprisingly clever hook for the film, one that I don’t recall being done before.

And since I absolutely adored the Lethal Weapon films as a kid, I am happy to see a new Lethal Weapon style buddy cop flick. Starring men or women!

Sandra Bullock plays Ashburn, an extremely proficient FBI agent who is nevertheless disliked by all of her co-workers for her uptight, self-superior mannerisms.  She is on the trail of a drug lord, which brings her to Boston and the jurisdiction of Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), who is Ashburn’s exact opposite: a slovenly, violent, seat-of-her-pants officer.  Though not immediately apparent on first glimpse, Mullins is, in her own way, just as proficient an officer as is Ashburn.  The two women, of course, take an immediate dislike to one another, but after being forced by circumstances to work together, eventually form a tight, unbeatable partnership.

It is not an original story, that is clear.  But that is sort of the point, I think.  Part of the fun of The Heat is seeing these familiar male buddy-cop movie tropes played out with two women.  And what makes The Heat work is that, on top of that, Mr. Feig (working from a script by Katie Dippold) has layered in a lot of the comic digressions and details that are his trademark.

Both Ms. Bullock and Ms. McCarthy do strong work.  Ms. Bullock is well-practiced at playing the “straight woman” and no one can … [continued]