The Heat-attachment0

The Heat

Movie Information

The Story: A button-down FBI agent is teamed with an overbearingly vulgar Boston cop. The Lowdown: Stale and predictable. Its supposed novelty lies in the fact that the leads are women. Sandra Bullock is solidly professional as the "straight man," while Melissa McCarthy swears a lot and is angry most of the time.
Score:

Genre: Odd Couple Cop Raunch-com
Director: Paul Feig (Bridesmaids)
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demián Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport
Rated: R

I chuckled once. I am tempted to leave the review at that, but I don’t guess I can. The Heat is a lackluster, overlong, boring odd couple/buddy comedy of the cop variety. The —  makers of it appear to believe that listening to Melissa McCarthy swear is endlessly funny — and that it’s even funnier if she swears at the top of her lungs. (That part is nothing new. Loud has been mistaken for funny as far back as the Ritz Brothers and Lou Costello.) This has certain built-in limitations — unless you’re wildly amused by permutations of the F-word for two hours. Face it, even clever variations on the word wear thin after a while. These aren’t even clever. Most of the movie’s vulgarity is no more inspired than recess at junior high.

The premise here is that Sandra Bullock is a tight-assed, glory-hound FBI agent who gets partnered with foul-mouthed, unkempt, insubordinate Boston cop McCarthy on a case. They immediately hate each other. Do I really need to say more? You have to know how this is going to work out. You’ve seen it lots of times — only with male leads. I suppose this is considered a breakthrough for women in film — at last they can be in movies just as threadbare and predictable as those starring their male counterparts. The only possible way to make this fresh would be to have Bullock and McCarthy switch roles. And since that didn’t happen, here we are — with yet another movie that plays like a check list of things out of other similar movies. By the time the movie got to the scene where Bullock couldn’t understand McCarthy’s Boston-accented family (see also Fred Gwynne trying to decipher Joe Pesci in 1992’s My Cousin Vinny), I was ready to go. Unfortunately, the movie wasn’t ready to let me.

As might be expected, Bullock manages to get through all this largely unscathed. Her innate sense of comic timing and knack for physical comedy saves her from the film’s tone-deaf clunkiness. No matter how bland the direction, nor how unfocused McCarthy’s material becomes, Bullock soldiers on, imbuing her character with more than the script affords her. Well, most of the time. A few of the film’s more ill-conceived notions — the botched tracheotomy scene, for example — are beyond salvaging. Plus, the film is so obviously intended to cash in on the curious popularity of McCarthy as the obnoxious, aggressive, angry, foul-mouthed character (with the obligatory damaged heart-of-gold) that she’s been playing for three movies now, that it’s pretty much her show. How you feel about her particular schtick is going to determine your tolerance for this. Judging by the weekend box office, there’s more appeal than I’d have thought likely, but McCarthy is still in one-trick-pony realm. Rated R for pervasive language, crude content and some violence.

Playing at Carolina Cinemas, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande, United Artists Beaucatcher

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About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress since December 2000. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

30 thoughts on “The Heat

  1. DrSerizawa

    That’s about what I expected. The trailer looked awful. I don’t know who Melissa McCarthy is but her screen presence made me want to head for the hills.

    • Dionysis

      My exact reaction to the trailer, and my sentiments as well.

  2. Ken Hanke

    She’s apparently from a TV series, but she made a fluke hit in Bridesmaids, which was followed by the utterly dire Identity Thief and now this marginally painful one.

  3. Big Al

    She played a very cute, and slightly edgy, best friend of the elder of the two “Gilmore Girls” on WB network. I loved the show and her character, but I see nothing that she is in lately worth watching. “Bridesmaids” was like watching a few diamonds floating in a bucket of shit, and MM was one of the turds.

  4. Ken Hanke

    I think you have to be keen on that TV show to see anything special about Hamm. To me, he’s the epitome of “good enough for TV.”

  5. Big Al

    By diamonds, I meant story ideas, not actors. I liked the general story idea and the romance between Kristen Wiig and the Irish cop, but there were so many episodes of raunchy potty humor that seemed gratuitous and just dragged the whole film down, and McCarthy was in most of them. There was much to like in the film, but so much to dislike.

    I did not even notice John Hamm in the film, and other than a so-brief-as-to-be-unseen guest spot on “Gilmore Girls”, I have never seen him, but I did see a publicity shot attached to an article about his possibly starring in an adaptation of the late Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series and thought he really looked like my idea of Rapp. It seems that the latest proposal is to adapt one of Flynn’s prequels about a much younger Rapp, which would star Colin Farrel or some other youngish star instead.

  6. Big Al

    While I am here, I would also say that I can count the number of films starring Sandra Bullock that I enjoyed on one hand, with fingers to spare.

  7. Ken Hanke

    I can only name three, which is three more than I can name for Ms. McCarthy, but that, I think, says more about her choices than her talent.

  8. Jeremy Dylan

    I did see a publicity shot attached to an article about his possibly starring in an adaptation of the late Vince Flynn’s Mitch Rapp series and thought he really looked like my idea of Rapp. It seems that the latest proposal is to adapt one of Flynn’s prequels about a much younger Rapp, which would star Colin Farrel or some other youngish star instead.

    That seems an odd strategy, as Hamm is only three or four years older than Farrel.

    Regardless, I’d rather see Hamm play Philip Marlowe.

  9. Ken Hanke

    The problem with any of this is that there’s been no evidence that Hamm can carry a feature film as the star.

  10. Big Al

    “That seems an odd strategy, as Hamm is only three or four years older than Farrel.”

    True, but I think Farrell has an easier time portraying a younger character, while Hamm can play older better. Moot point since any attempt to adapt Mitch Rapp seems to be on hold indefinitely. The best script would have been “Transfer of Power”, but it involved rescuing the White House from terrorists, and SURPRISE…!

    “I can only name three, which is three more than I can name for Ms. McCarthy,…”

    Ditto. Mine are “Speed”, “The Lake House” and “The Blind Side”.

    “…but that, I think, says more about her choices than her talent.”

    I will meet you halfway here. Most of her films were junk with or without her, but her acting leaves much to be desired. I could not decide who I found more over-the-top in the “Miss Congenialty” series, her, or William Shatner, who seemed hell-bent on cementing his title as Overactor-in-Chief. Although her was perfect for “Boston Legal”

  11. Big Al

    “…there’s been no evidence that Hamm can carry a feature film as the star.”

    (cue music)

    All that I’m sayyyin….is give Hamm a chaaance.

    (Hamm Aid 2013. Please give)

  12. ivana

    You are such a pathetic male chauvinist that it is a waste of my time to even respond to your uninformed review. But, since they awarded you some kind of credibility on the “Rotten Tomatoes” site I felt compelled to respond… It is so obvious that you have NO CLUE what women really are about (have you had any lately??) and how much they actually DO identify with these characters. This was the BEST, LONG OVERDUE, cop female movie I’ve seen ever and I laughed all the way though it. If you didn’t get it, I feel sorry for you…

  13. Ken Hanke

    So did you unleash your ire on the other 43 Rotten Tomato critics — some of them women! — who gave this a negative review?

  14. Big Al

    Personal attacks on Mr. Hanke’s masculinity do not make for sophisticated intellectual film criticism. Is that the best that Feminism can offer?

    You’ve (NOT!) come a long way, baby!

  15. luluthebeast

    No, no, women do have just as much right to star in insipid cop buddy movies with no originality as men do.

  16. DrSerizawa

    Wait. First explain how being on RT lends anyone credence.

    I’m sure it’s frustrating to wait so long for a female buddy-cop movie. But the correct target for your ire would be the people who made this stinker not some lone critic. Even if Mr Hanke is a male chauvinist, attacking him won’t make a bad movie into a good one.

    Oh, and given the box office on this one you’ll be waiting a long time for the next one too.

  17. Ken Hanke

    First explain how being on RT lends anyone credence

    That puzzled me, too.

  18. Big Al

    And another thing: how can a movie review, following an actual viewing of the film, be characterized as “uninformed”? What other information is there besides the film itself?

    ivana, pull your head out of your politics. The air is much fresher out here.

  19. Ken Hanke

    And another thing: how can a movie review, following an actual viewing of the film, be characterized as “uninformed”?

    I would concede that possibility. An uninformed viewer — one unfamiliar with movies in general — might conclude that The Heat was original or something.

  20. Dionysis

    “This was the BEST, LONG OVERDUE, cop female movie I’ve seen ever…”

    Okay, and just how many have you seen, other than this one? What was the worst?

    • Dionysis

      No, of course not. In fact, it is doubtful if anymore such posts are written by this paragon of female sensitivity for a long, long time. But then again, she did admit to knowingly “waste
      time” so we’ll see.

  21. Ken Hanke

    I suspect she only came here because Rotten Tomatoes no longer allows their readers to post comments on individual reviews, so she was driven to the source.

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