The US smash hit arrives in the UK.
Bridesmaids director Paul Feig reunites with its breakout star Melissa McCarthy for another female driven comedy in this mismatched and often hilarious buddy movie. Sandra Bullock stars as tightly wound (but brilliant) FBI Agent Sarah Ashburn, her arrogance has alienated her from the rest of the team and this behaviour has jeopardised a promotion she has set her sights on.
In a bid to impress her prematurely aged boss (played by Back To The Future’s Tom Wilson) she goes to Boston to investigate the whereabouts of a ruthless drug lord named Larkin. A seemingly straightforward task is abruptly complicated when Ashburn is partnered with foulmouthed Boston detective Shannon Mullins (McCarthy), who has her own unique way of law enforcement.
The snappy script from Kate Dippold (Parks and Recreation) is loaded with profanity laced one liners and gives McCarthy plenty of room for her trademarked improvisation. What does beg belief is why the talented Dippold opted for a generic plot and bad guys that could have been lifted from any buddy movie from the last 30 years. An early scene has Mullins showing Ashburn inside her apartment and she proudly shows off her fridge full of guns, at this point every single member of the audience is thinking “I bet that fridge full of guns will come in handy later on”. It does.
From this point on it’s buddy movie by numbers with the chalk and cheese of the characters going to extremes. Ashburn is painfully lonely and in need of breaking out of the comfortable rut she’s in, Mullins has family problems after she sent her brother to prison when he was caught breaking the law. There’s even a vague attempt at giving Ashburn a love interest with Marlon Wayans’ love struck detective.This unneeded sub-plot is so thinly developed that it could have been removed and nobody would have been the wiser.
Sandra Bullock became America’s sweetheart for the second time when she won an Academy Award for her performance in The Blind Side. Ashburn is hardly a stretch for her and is more or less a carbon copy of Gracie Hart (her character from Miss Congeniality). Melissa McCarthy once again steals the spotlight and Mullins is another outlandish creation, at times there’s an over reliance on swearing but Mullins is ultimately a good person and has the heart of gold we’ve come to expect from McCarthy. The biggest laugh comes from a scene at a restaurant which sees Mullins and Ashburn try and aid a chocking member of the public, easily one of the funniest moments to grace the silver screen all summer.
Unlike Hot Fuzz which was a knowing send up of the genre, The Heat could be seen as its female equivalent but fizzles out towards the end with its overlong running time and predictable plot. Thankfully the infectious pairing of Bullock and McCarthy provide an irresistible combination that has made this a bonafide hit.
The Heat is out now in cinemas everywhere.