Good cop, bad cop, corrupt cop, crazy cop, psychic cop, we’ve seen it all. Countless combinations you can have, and as long as you have a good script, it can turn out to be something new and amazing. The Heat shows us just how wrong you can make a buddy cop movie when the script completely ignores the potential of the lead actors.
We meet Special Agent Ashburn (Sandra Bullock), who is a tightly wound, by-the-books perfectionist whose career is the main focus of her life. Not well liked by anyone in her department, Ashburn must prove she is able to work well with others in order to get the promotion she’s been working so hard for. That takes her to follow a case in Boston where the officer assigned to the case is all but helpful. Detective Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), the officer who assigned herself to the case after verbally and physically abusing her superior, is a street smart cop who will bend (and often break) the law to get results. “What a kooky combination we have never yet seen before in a female led comedy,” is what I wish I could have said after seeing this film. The antics, humor and twists are surprising. So surprising in fact, that if you wait even after the credits, they never appear.
Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) directs this female buddy cop comedy without the great deft he’s shown us previously. I completely respect Feig’s mission to change the face of comedy from the boy’s club it previously was, but the progress made with Bridesmaids is only hurt by a film like this. There is no part of this film that is not hackneyed or trite. Every joke is plainly predictable, every punch line is coldly calculated and the “surprising twists” are just affirmations of conclusions we already made half an hour into the movie.
The worst part about the script is that it didn’t effectively use their best resource, their actors. Sandra Bullock took a back seat role while Melissa McCarthy stole the show. McCarthy was the best part of the film, aside from a few well-placed jokes, but her character is one we have seen before. Her jokes, for the most part, seemed ad-libbed and ran on for too long. I can only sympathize with McCarthy, who probably felt she was forced to do this to give the film an infusion of the humor it was sorely lacking.
This buddy cop film was anything but a partnership, with Bullock in the background and McCarthy spreading herself into every scene like a wildfire. With minimal humor and an even more minimalist script, The Heat was more cold than hot.
RATING: ★★★ (3/10 stars)
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