Experienced, yet unlikable, FBI special agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is up for promotion, and her proving ground case is to take down a drug lord in Boston before he strikes again. Not exactly a team player, Ashburn’s patience is put to the test when she is forced to team up with Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), a highly unorthodox local detective.
Channeling more Lenina Huxley than any of her more recent dramatic turns, Bullock’s Sarah Ashburn is a cop who does things naively by the books, but is not so likeable as her Demolition Man Character. Doing things the “right way” has always worked for her, so it seems, and she doesn’t see any reason to change her methods now. Melissa McCarthy is Melissa McCarthy. While not nearly as annoying and unlikable as she is in Identity Thief, there’s not much about her character that will endear her to you if you don’t already like McCarthy at least a little. She’s tough on the outside from having to deal with an incredibly dysfunctional family and everything that comes with working the Boston beat. She’s got a squishy center though, of course. So basically a variation on every other character she’s known for.
Marlon Wayans, Michael Rappaport, and Tom Wilson appear in supporting roles.
This is, above all things, a buddy cop movie, but with the opposite gender from just about every other buddy cop movie out there. In fact, I can’t think of a single other film in the genre with two female leads. Kudos to Paul Feig for once again having faith that general audiences will actually go see a move that doesn’t have a man in the lead. What a novel concept. He does a decent job, as well, at not pandering to the stereotypical woman movie-goer either by making some sort of chick flick. This is just a movie that happens to star a couple women. I just wish it was a better one.
Sure, there are some great moments and genuine laughs to be had. Sure, it’s miles better than McCarthy’s previous, completely uninspired comedy of the year. The Heat still falls short though. The chemistry is there, and represents the best part of the film, but the end product is largely forgettable. Perhaps most telling is how little I actually remember of the film as I think back to it. There are a couple of scenes that stick out, but not much. In addition to not being that memorable, the film also suffers from a strange unevenness. It wants to be a comedy, first and foremost, but at times it delves into other territories, even going surprisingly gory with a number of not too comical stabbings. It’s a weird mixture of slapstick and action drama that just doesn’t work.
I’ve seen far worse, but for a cheap laugh, I’d still recommend The Internship over this one.
Mrs. Hamster did not attend this screening.
My Rating: Two out of Five Hats
The Heat fires up 3,000 theaters, June 28