Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Run Time: 1 hour, 57 minutes, Rated R
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Sandra Bullock, Demian Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport, Jane Curtin, Taran Killam, Thomas F. Wilson
Directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids)
It should come as no big surprise that The Heat (opening today) began its life as a script called, "Untitled Female Buddy Cop Comedy." At its core, it's not much more than that. It recycles every tried-and-true staple of the buddy-cop genre, relying heavily on its two stars to carry the load. It's a good thing then, that we're talking about one of the hottest comedic talents in Hollywood right now - Melissa McCarthy - teamed up with one of the big-screen's most iconic sweethearts - Sandra Bullock. Together, they make a great pair in which we would follow seemingly anywhere.
Bullock is the straight-laced one and McCarthy is the obnoxious, vulgar, loose cannon. They begrudgingly become friends, fight crime and operate outside of the parameters given to them by their superiors. Yes, in one scene they get drunk and perform karaoke at a local dive bar, as most partners seem to do in movies.
But it is all worth it, as The Heat is downright funny, mainly acting as a showcase for Melissa McCarthy's blunt brand of improvised humor.
For director Paul Feig, this is a fairly safe follow-up to his mega-blockbuster 2011 film, Bridesmaids, a film that landed Melissa McCarthy a surprise Oscar nomination. The Michigan native - who is also the creator of the cult TV series, Freaks & Geeks - seems to mostly step out of the way to let his stars shine. It seems to be the correct choice here.
Most disappointingly, The Heat features a pretty weak ensemble around its two leads. Joey McIntyre (of New Kids on The Block) and Jane Curtin (Saturday Night Live) make up two-parts of McCarthy's on-screen Bostonian family and they steal some laughs. But Taran Killam - my personal favorite player on Saturday Night Live - is totally wasted here as an opposing cop on the force. Others, like Thomas F. Wilson (Biff from Back to the Future) and Marlon Wayans are completely misused.
So if you like Melissa McCarthy, you will love The Heat. If you aren't familiar with her yet (where have you been hiding?) then this is a great showcase of her talents. It's no Bridesmaids, in terms of outright hilarity or inventiveness, but it is a serviceable comedy that should please most audiences.
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