Take an entirely too up-tight and straitlaced FBI agent, add in a Boston PD detective who is so far over the top as to be somewhere in the stratosphere and you have The Heat. Director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) has another winner in this female buddy-cop film starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy.
“Sarah Ashburn” (Bullock) is a veteran FBI agent bucking to become the “boss” at the FBI’s office in New York City. Her boss, “Agent Hale” (Bichir) is being promoted and will be choosing his replacement. Ashburn doesn’t have much of a chance at landing the job she wants because she’s managed to piss off every other agent in the office. Hale gives her one more chance to prove herself, sending her to Boston looking for the murderous leader of a drug cartel. The problem is, while they know who his chief enforcer is, they don’t have a clue what the cartel leader looks like.
There is a lead and he happens to have just been arrested by “Shannon Mullins” (McCarthy) who is the roughest, most unkempt detective on the Boston PD. She has no respect for anyone and is somewhere beyond fearless. She wants in on Ashburn’s case and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Inevitably, the two team up to go after the cartel leader.
To call the dialogue of The Heat profane is to moderately understate. It doesn’t come close to Casino or Summer of Sam in the number, but the “f-bomb” is dropped with great regularity. That’s not a negative, in fact it becomes a device for humor as the more times Mullins says it, the harder Ashburn resists the impulse to use it herself. The writing is first-rate, especially in the creation of the two characters. They seem so diametrically different and yet in many ways there are strong similarities beneath the surface. Not only is there apparently nothing that’s off-limits to being used as humor, it is a very nice blend of spoken and visual comedy.
If you’re one of those who remember trailers very well, some things you expect to happen just as they did when you watched those trailers may disappoint. I noted these changes but found the final version to be better than what was discarded.
Bullock and McCarthy have great chemistry and the rest of the film’s players could be a primer how how to perfectly cast a movie. Mullins has a large family in the film and when they are together in a large group sequence, they definitely look like a family as opposed to actors pretending to be related. Marlon Wayans is fun to watch as an FBI agent helping Ashburn while Michael McDonald is a great villain.
This is a winner. Oh, and as far as the off-base criticism made by Rex Reed regarding the wonderful Melissa McCarthy in a prior film, he can just kiss my fat ass, which he wouldn’t know from a hole in the ground.