DIR: Paul Feig • WRI: Katie Dippold • PRO: Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping • DOP: Enrique Chediak • ED: Brent White, Jay Deuby • CAST: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demián Bichir, Marlon Wayans
Buddy-cop comedies were a staple of the 1980s in the wake of the success of 48 Hours, which translated the talents of Eddie Murphy from the small screen to movies. In this summer of tedious city-levelling blockbusters, it’s a palette-cleansing relief to find The Heat reworking the ‘80’s formula of the reliable police officer paired with a wild and crazy partner. Here Sandra Bullock plays an efficient but uptight FBI agent forced to work alongside Melissa McCarthy’s scruffy and inventively foul-mouthed Boston cop in order to take down a drug lord. The plot only serves to generate situations that allow our odd-couple duo to demonstrate their comedic gifts, and, in this, it succeeds wonderfully.
Some interesting actors, including Jane Curtin, Demián Bichir , Tony Hale and Michael Rappaport appear in supporting roles, but this is really a two-woman show. As seen in The Proposal, Bullock is adept at milking awkwardness and inhibition for all their comic potential. The real star, however, is McCarthy, who, both physically and verbally, heeds no boundaries of taste in order to elicit laughs. One can’t help but feel that much of her dialogue was unscripted. The film’s 15 certificate rating gives her free rein to coin some fresh workplace profanity, including a grandstanding tirade about her boss’s lack of balls. The filmmakers’ willingness to spurn a general audience in favour of the liberties afforded by the higher age rating also allows for unexpected moments of violence that further the comedy, including a bloody and bloody funny emergency tracheotomy needlessly performed by Bullock.
McCarthy made her first mark in 2011’s Bridesmaids, and that film’s director, Paul Feig, draws another great performance from her. Despite the massive success of Bridesmaids, some critics grudgingly marginalised it as a female-skewing, chick-flick phenomenon, as if its box-office total of $288 million worldwide was all made up entirely by hen parties, with men staying well clear. Straying into the traditionally male terrain of the buddy-cop genre and generating the same kind of laughs as Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, The Heat clarifies the fact that funny is funny, regardless of the gender of the protagonists.
Rated 15A (see IFCO website for details)
The Heat is released on 2nd August 2013