The Heat carries more hype than your typical comedy movie; it is the next piece of work from Paul Feig, the director of the smash hit that was Bridesmaids. Feig’s streak ends at 1. The Heat is a conventional, buddy cop movie that conforms to all of the stereotypes of the genre that have already been done to death and to greater effect.
Sandra Bullock stars as the uptight FBI agent – Sarah Ashburn – who has just been shipped off to Boston to assist the police in taking down a crime ring as she works towards a looming promotion. In the twist of the century, she is soon paired with Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) who is her polar opposite, a cop who doesn’t play by the rules and every second word out of her mouth is ‘fuck.’ The pair must work together in order to solve the case and maybe, just maybe, find friendship in the most unlikely of places. It’s boring, formulaic and does nothing that similar films have not already done better.
As for the film’s stars – Bullock and McCarthy – both play the exact same role that they have already played in countless films before. Bullock is the straight-laced, blazer-wearing, independent woman who finds herself in uncomfortable situations around those of contrasting personalities, eventually mellowing over time. McCarthy gives the loud, brash, foul-mouthed shtick that was funny twice and is not thoroughly intolerable. Both of these acts were funny in the past, we’ve just seen them a dozen times too many.
The ‘comedy’ available to you seems to have been inspired by the phrase ‘throw enough mud at the wall, some of it will stick.’ The Heat is a relentless torrent of attempts at humour and every so often something will hit; more often than not, though, it misses wildly. McCarthy’s dialogue, in particular, just feels like she’s saying anything that pops into her head, throwing in some swear words and hoping that the end result will be funny – it rarely is. Even the moments that feel more tightly scripted are totally hot/cold. For instance, there’s a funny moment early in the movie when McCarthy’s character nails a perpetrator with a watermelon – it’s actually pretty good, slapstick comedy. Fast-forward about an hour and the joke is repeated with a phone book. The lack of inspiration is glaring. The cruel irony is that Bullock and McCarthy appear to be having a great time, something that few audience members will be able to relate to.
If you are a fan of Sandra Bullock or Melissa McCarthy – and the characters that they play in every movie – then you might find some limited enjoyment in The Heat. If not, then I cannot honestly recommend this movie to you. It thoroughly plants itself with the confines of genre, never stepping out of them and spectacularly fails as a result. Instead of spending £8 for a ticket at the cinema, go pick up a copy of Beverly Hills Cop from the bargain bin at your local supermarket; it’s the same idea but much better.