The Heat: Chemistry Wins Out…Barely—Movie

What does one say about a movie that is so dumb, so convoluted, yet so stupidly funny…seemingly on purpose? One says, “Go.” Just leave your brains at home and don’t feel bad about laughing and give in to the good-will chemistry generated by “The Heat’s” Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock.The Heat

I admit, I tried to follow the plot, but with so many characters coming and going, I finally gave up and had a much better time as a result.  Directed by “The Bridesmaid’s ” Paul Feig and written by Katie Dippold, “The Heat’s” storyline is basically this—opposites attract.

Uptight, by-the-book, FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is sent to Boston to work with in-your-face, rules are meant to be broken Detective Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), to take down a drug lord. As prim and proper as Ashburn is, that’s how much of a slob Mullins is. They are mirror opposites in everything but their dedication to their respective jobs. Neither woman has friend or is beloved by colleagues, to put it mildly. We get a good idea why and how each operates in the film’s opening 20 minutes…first following Ashburn taking in a prisoner and then shifting to Boston, where some of the movie’s funniest scenes take place between McCarthy and Tony Hale, a poor schlub she arrests for paying for the services of a prostitute.

After many rounds of butting heads, the two women form a shaky bond and we get the female version of the buddy cop movie as the two work together to solve thee case. As luck would have it, Ashburn’s just out of prison brother, Jason (Michael Rapaport), has ties to some of the criminals involved with the suspected drug lord and it’s because of him that we meet the entire, hilarious Mullins family, including where-has-she-been, SNL vet, Jane Curtin as the Mullins’ siblings crass mother.

“The Heat” has a terrific supporting cast, which in addition those already mentioned, includes Marlon Wayans, Taran Killan, Dan Bannos, and Michael McDonald. All are improv vets and one can only imagine what the outtakes from the film must be like.

As good as Melissa McCarthy is in “The Heat,” and make no mistake, she is terrific, one really longs to see her try something different, before she and/or her stunt double get seriously injured or she becomes a one trick pony. Bullock has her Oscar; she can afford to do movies like this every now and then.  But it’s time for McCarthy to break free of the foul, slovenly motor-mouth roles and try something new. Anyone who ever watched her in the “Gilmore Girls” knows she’s capable of so much more. Even in “The Heat,” or her most recent film, “Identity Thief,” when given tender scenes, she shines.

If you go to the movies as much as I do, you’ve seen coming attractions for “The Heat” since Thanksgiving and probably worried that all the laughs were in the preview. No worries—there are plenty more. I just wish “The Heat” had been smarter.

2 ½ nuggets out of 4

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