Despite laughs, Bullock, McCarthy don't bring 'The Heat'
On his last directorial outing, Paul Feig steered potty-mouthed comedy “Bridesmaids” to a nearly $300 million gross and a surprise Oscar nomination for breakout star Melissa McCarthy. With those two talents teamed up again, it's disappointing that “The Heat” doesn't do more than take an established film template — in this case, the buddy-cop flick — throw in a Tarantino-size helping of F-bombs, cast a couple of women and call it a day.
Sandra Bullock stars as FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn, the yin to Melissa McCarthy's yang as Boston cop Shannon Mullins. You know the drill: Ashburn is a fussy slave to procedure; Mullins is a slovenly loose cannon. Ashburn wears Spanx; Mullins wears sweatpants. Rinse, repeat.
On the prowl for a job promotion, career-driven Ashburn takes a gig in Boston, hunting down a mysterious drug lord. There, she's teamed up with Mullins, a crude cop with a fridge full of ammo whose contacts prove indispensable to solving the case. They can't stand each other, but they need each other.
It's as formulaic as these things get, to the point where the film can't even feign much interest in its own unnecessarily muddled plot.
McCarthy is not infrequently hilarious, wringing profane humor out of easy jokes that would've fallen flat without her charisma.
Bullock's character provides less opportunity for crude humor and her spinster catlady shtick is less endearing. She's essentially playing a riff on her “Miss Congeniality” character, yet another unfeminine FBI agent who blossoms when she's forced outside her comfort zone. She's a funny woman, and she does what she can with the material, but she all but disappears in the glow of whatever wanton magic McCarthy is working.
A sprawling, unfocused script from writer Katie Dippold is partially to blame. Her television pedigree lends itself more to improvisation (she's got loads of “Parks and Recreation” and “MADtv” writing credits), and her talent for episodic and sketch comedy doesn't translate to a two-hour-long feature film. Scenes go on too long. Jokes outwear their welcome.
Even though McCarthy keeps the laughs coming, “The Heat” doesn't really pack enough.
Barbara VanDenburgh is a staff writer for the Arizona Republic.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- DVD reviews: ‘Noah,’ ‘Twin Peaks — The Entire Mystery,’ and ‘The Other Woman’
- DVD reviews: ‘Transcendence,’ ‘Blue Ruin’ and ‘Sabotage’
- DVD reviews: ‘Under the Skin’ and ‘Rio 2’