Monday, July 15, 2013

The Heat is Undeniably Cool

The Heat, starring Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock, is one of the coolest movies released by a major studio in quite some time. I am not a buddy cop kind of person, but with these two stars I was drawn to see The Heat, and am I so glad that I did.

Bullock plays straight-laced FBI agent Ashburn, who is sent to Boston where she must work on a case with a brash, foul-mouthed detective named Mullins, played by McCarthy. Bullock is a gifted comedian in her own right but she expertly plays the straight man to McCarthy's wild-eyed brazenness. Mullins nor Ashburn have any strong relationships, familial or otherwise, so working with each other presents quite a challenge. While some of the film's humor comes from Mullins' incredibly filthy language, the real humor lies in the stars' ability to play off of each other. Some of the biggest laughs come when Mullins aims a simple zinger directly at Ashburn . For instance, when Mullins learns that Ashburn was briefly married the first words out of her mouth are "Was he a hearing man?" McCarthy and Bullock are also wonderful physical comedians and the scenes in a night club and a seedy bar are ripe with  pratfalls, awkward dance moves, and hilarious facial expressions.

Since The Heat is a cop comedy, there is a secondary plot line involving taking down a drug lord. But the plot is surprisingly easy to follow and while there are a couple moments that feel a little too convenient, the cop storyline did not detract from the evolution of Ashburn and Mullins' relationship and did not leave me puzzled as to what the creators were trying to accomplish, a huge bonus in a buddy cop movie. Credit must be given to the film's writer Katie Dippold and its' director Paul Feig. The pair have created a movie that is well-paced and toes the line of shock humor without going over it.

Given that The Heat is a comedy starring two women, much has been written about its' success and the fact that it helps prove that female stars can carry a movie and female audiences will pay to see a movie in a theater. The same was said after Bridesmaids and many movies before that; the argument will be made again and again. However, focusing on the supposed surprise that women can carry a successful movie only gives the impression that The Heat is a flash in the pan, a fluke, so we will not discuss that here. Rather, watch the trailer and go to Fandango to buy your tickets to the next showing.

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