The Heat (2013)

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Director: Paul Feig

Cast: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demian Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport, Jane Curtin, Dan Bakkedahl, Taran Killam, Michael McDonald, Tom Wilson, Bill Burr.

Screenplay: Katie Dippold

117 mins. Rated R for pervasive language, strong crude content, and some violence.

Director Paul Feig is returning to his foul-mouth female formula with The Heat, a comedy of the buddy-cop variety. I’m actually astonished we don’t see more films with chicks in the leading roles. Sandra Bullock (Gravity) is Sarah Ashburn, an FBI Special Agent out on the case to impress her boss, played by Demian Bichir (Che, Machete Kills), by taking down a mobster. The real heat of the film, I suspect, comes from the relationship between Ashburn and her partner on the case Boston Detective Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy, Identity Thief, TV’s Mike & Molly).

Bullock portrays Ashburn with a sense of hubris in her abilities, but I wasn’t convinced that she was the FBI Agent we were to believe she was. The true star of this film is McCarthy, who is absolutely perfect in role, jarringly comedic and sweet when she needs to be, which isn’t often. Plus, how often do you get to see an actress chuck a watermelon at a guy to take him down? Bullock comes into her performance as the film grinds down, but McCarthy has enough chops at this point to keep you entertained.

As far as the supporting cast is concerned, I felt very unimpressed with the amount of talent being wasted. Bichir does fine with this little screen time, and Dan Bakkedahl is essentially one-note though he excels with his line delivery. Then, you have Marlon Wayans, Jane Curtin, Michael Rapaport, Michael McDonald, and Bill Burr, some truly funny people getting little or no chance to shine throughout the entirety of the film.

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The film is edited nicely, however, and there is definite respect given to the cop stories of the 70s and the 80s. I can see the love for character like Starsky and Hutch or Lethal Weapon‘s Riggs and Murtaugh here.There are virtually no issues to be had with the writing or cinematopgraphy.

This film is McCarthy’s. She owns it and she knows she does. The rest of the cast can only hope to spend as much screen time with her as possible. Feig does a nice job of holding it all together, and there isn’t much I would take out, apart from a scene involving a choking victim, you’ll know why when you see it.

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After finishing the film (and still being unable to get Tony Hale’s great cameo out of my head), I have to say that it The Heat sizzles on some levels and fizzles on others. McCarthy’s star is shining brighter now than even this time last year, but I would still be interested in seeing this duo take on another bad guy.

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

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