Director: Paul Feig.
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demian Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Spoken Reasons, Michael Rapaport, Tom Wilson.
Running Time: 117 minutes.
Synopsis: Aiming to nab a promotion, the straight-laced Agent Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) must prove she’s a team player by pairing up with slovenly maverick cop Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) to bring down a highly elusive drug lord.
Paul Feig is up to his olds tricks again. This time the BRIDESMAIDS director teams up go-to funny girl Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock for odd couple/buddy cop comedy, THE HEAT. 20th Century Fox is clearly confident, delaying the film’s original Spring release and holding out for a big summer box office return; a gambit that would appear to have paid off as the movie has performed well State-side and a sequel has already been announced.
THE HEAT, we are sad to say, is standard stuff. The film’s main failing is a narrative and character arch that is all too familiar. Here the odd couple cop shtick is tired, formulaic and, despite a gender-swap curve ball, rigidly adheres to all the old tropes, i.e., comically mismatched duo butt heads until they glean the root of their respective character flaws, learn to work together, solve the case and become best buddies in the process. Aptly, THE HEAT’s level of both humour and originality is encompassed in its lazily wry tagline, ‘Good Cop, Mad Cop’ (I bet someone in the office got a bonus that day!). It’s a shame, because the cast are on form delivering top-notch dialogue from a snappy script by Katie Dippold (PARKS AND RECREATION), but ultimately you’ve seen this film before and done better.
Despite its predictability, THE HEAT isn’t a complete loss. Bullock and McCarthy have a great onscreen dynamic, bating sarcastic quips back and forth with perfect timing and a high hit rate, but McCarthy wins out in the laugh stakes, and you could happily watch two hours of her surly, no-nonsense antics. Whilst McCarthy’s spluttering potty mouth provides a constant stream of laughs, the handsome Bullock assumes the role of the straight man and although she plays the hard-nosed yet vulnerable nerd very well, it’s nothing we haven’t seen in the likes of THE PROPOSAL or the MISS CONGENIALITY films.
There’s plenty for comedy fans to enjoy in THE HEAT; two solid lead performances, an excellent supporting cast (it’s a joy to see Biff Tannen himself, Tom Wilson), a recurring cat gag, a nightmarish Bostonian family, the odd albino joke and a surprise tracheotomy! But THE HEAT fails to weave its promising components into anything fresh. It’s fully expected that the film will perform well, but if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll see it for what it is; fun, forgettable and distinctly lukewarm