Film Review: “The Heat”

Melissa McCarthy can only do so much to try and save this movie.  The Heat is the latest buddy-cop comedy to be released this weekend and there are a lot of problems with it.  The script has an abundance of clichés from similar genres, lazy comedy, predictability, and a flat-out miscast in Sandra Bullock.  Sadly, there is only one constant good thing in this film and that is Melissa McCarthy.  For a comedy to work though, there should be an ensemble of funny people or at least a strong story to support moments where the character comedy becomes dull.

 

   The Heat is directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) and stars Sandra Bullock as a cocky and arrogant FBI agent who has no friends.  She gets transferred to Boston to work on a drug case and ends up being paired with Melissa McCarthy, a forceful and extremely inappropriate cop who knows all of the ins and outs of the drug trades in Boston.  Because these two women are polar opposites, they initially don’t get along and bicker with each other on how things should be handled during an investigation.  Eventually, they realize that they both have strengths and they need to work together to solve the case.  You know where this is going right?  That’s because it is literary the same as any other cop duo/good cop-bad cop routine you’ve ever seen.  The only thing that is different is the use of female leads, but the story is essentially the same.  This would be fine though if there was enough original comedy to keep the movie going instead of one person who is just naturally funny.

 

It’s strange that Paul Feig would choose to do a comedy like this.  He’s never really done action-comedy before and he usually directs comedies that are original ideas.  Feig perfectly captured high school in the TV show with the massive cult following, Freaks and Geeks.  He was also responsible for the hilarious box office surprise, Bridesmaids.  So why would Feig decide to be a part of a retread and overdone genre film like The Heat?  It’s a mystery to me, but I was extremely disappointed at how repetitive this movie became.  There is far too much physical humor such as Sandra Bullock turning and hitting her head on something accidentally or a person getting shot in the testicles.  And good lord the comedic clichés just kept on coming.  The main example I can think of is McCarthy’s family has a strong Boston accent to represent the cliché of the out of control Boston family.  And by the way, McCarthy’s family are the only characters with Boston accents even though the film takes place IN BOSTON!  Anyway, the joke with this (that goes on for far too long) is that Bullock can’t understand anything the family is saying because of their accents.  Even when it is extremely obvious to the entire audience exactly what the Boston character is saying.  In many instances in The Heat, there are moments in the beginning that are funny, but then that same joke is repeated later in the movie.  Without spoiling anything, there is a reoccurring character whose sole purpose in the film is to be made fun of because of his appearance the entire time he’s on screen.  Feig can do better than this.  From a guy who has struck comedic gold in the past, this just comes off as lazy.

 

The biggest problem with The Heat is Sandra Bullock.  The first ten minutes of the film is her character being the most smug and unlikable person imaginable.  I understand that her character was supposed to act like that but how is the audience supposed to root for her or relate to her?  If we aren’t supposed to root for her character, then we at least need a character transformation where Sandra Bullock’s character learns a lesson and becomes more likable.  If you’ve seen any of the trailers for this film, you know that Sandra Bullock’s character transformation involves mimicking Melissa McCarthy’s character (who is also very unlikable).  The only reason it’s okay for McCarthy to be so unlikable is because she’s so damn funny.  Sandra Bullock is not funny.  Sandra Bullock thinks she’s funny and people tell her that she’s funny but she’s not.  Every comedy she’s ever been in (romantic or not) has been dreadful.  I don’t understand why her whole social awkward shtick is so appealing to so many people.  To me, it just comes off as annoying.  The second Melissa McCarthy comes on screen, the film instantly becomes funnier.  It can become a problem though if there is only one funny person in the film and everyone else isn’t even close to being funny.  It makes it so that any other time something else is happening or when any other character is speaking, you want that to stop happening and have Melissa McCarthy start up again.  For that reason, no matter how funny McCarthy is, this is still a bad movie that offers nothing new to the table.  If anyone but McCarthy were cast in this role, The Heat would be an abomination but thankfully she is the only thing holding the film together and is the sole cohesive aspect.  I would suggest renting The Heat just to get a couple laughs out of McCarthy’s performance but the film is certainly not worth paying to see in the theaters.

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