Review: The Heat
Directed by: Paul Feig
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport.
Rating: Running Time: 116 mins.
Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock), despite being disliked by the majority of her colleagues, is an exemplary FBI Special Agent. When it’s announced that a supervisor position is opening up, she pushes for the promotion, and is sent by her superior as a test for the position, to New York to investigate a drug dealer known only as Larkin. Arriving in New York, she meets skilled yet unconventional Boston police officer Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), and after butting heads, the two agree to partner up to investigate local drug rings to find and identify Larkin.
That is the very basic plotting that this movie is built upon. The Heat is essentially a re-hash of scenes and styling from every single buddy movie from around the 80’s up to present day, filled with cliché after cliché to such an extent that it almost becomes a spoof of the genre, and though it never takes itself too seriously at no point is it being as clever as it thinks it is. Frankenstein may seem like an odd way to describe this movie but that’s honestly the most accurate way to put it, a collection of scenes assembled from other comedies and transplanted with very little new material or tissue to connect them.
The narrative, such as it is, jumps forwards from one scene to another, to another, rapidly trying to cover up this fact. It’s repeatedly lazy and because the scenes are almost carbon copies from other movies, it’s boringly predictable even if you’ve only seen even a handful of those movies. Even the opening credits and choice of music feels like they are from some older movie, styled like they belong to some kind of cheesy 70’s exploitation movie.
Is it any real surprise then that the main focus of the movie is on the pairing of Bullock and McCarthy, playing the odd-couple as buddy cops? Well, no. If you’ve seen the trailer then you’ll know exactly what this movie is about. This is about the stuck up, by the book character that gets paired with the break all the rules, doesn’t give a **** partner who don’t get along before having to join forces and become a good team. Sound familiar? While the two of them do have some on-screen comedy chemistry, it’s not as strong as either’s pairing with actors in other movies previous to this.
All of this results in an underwhelming comedy where only half of the jokes pay off. It’s a shame as some of the setups for the jokes are well handled (though often too obviously) and could be genuinely funny, but like the partnership of the two lead characters, they’re never as successful as they should be, and that’s only the half of the jokes that are marginally successful. The rest more often than not result in dead silence from the audience when there should be some kind of a response. Hit and miss has never applied more.