The Heat

9 Aug

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Stick-in-the-mud FBI agent Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) and unconventional street cop Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) get paired together to take down a drug lord, in a slightly different take on the buddy cop format.

I hadn’t been quite sure what to expect from The Heat. All I have seen of Melissa McCarthy’s previous work is her extremely funny cameo in This Is 40 and her dismal role in one of 2013’s comedy lowlights Identity Thief. Those who have seen more of her work assure me she is talented. The trailers looked fairly amusing but also painted a picture of a generic and predictable comedy. As expectation setting goes that is impressive, because fairly amusing and generic and predictable are the perfect lines to sum up this film (though that rather suggests I may have peaked too early with this review).

Fortunately, one of my fears proved unfounded. I had worried (and been warned) that all of the funny stuff had gone into the previews, which I’ve seen countless times, and so figured there’d be nothing left to laugh at. Thankfully, that isn’t the case. In fact, many of the scenes from the trailer are significantly altered in the film.

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The story is as predictable as a film can be. The odd couple don’t get on, the up-tight and seemingly intelligent Ashburn does not approve of many of Mullins’ tactics, but as the film goes on she learns that she can utilise her skill set, rather than look down on her. How lovely, a protagonist that learns something and becomes a better person as the movie progresses.

Bullock is competent in her role, but all of the laughs here come from McCarthy. Her dialogue is relatively sharp; almost everything she says hits the mark in some way. Full on belly laughs are at a premium, but there are a couple; two scenes in which a cat plays a prominent role had me chuckling long after the film had finished. Occasionally, McCarthy’s swearing becomes a bit too much. When done right, her ability to force foul language into a sentence verges on poetic, but at times it feels forced, as if the rude word is the joke itself and detracts a little from the quality of her performance.

The film does try to resonate on an emotional level, which unfortunately becomes cheesy, though that was never a surprise. There are epiphanies in all the obvious places and that side of the story is a weak point.

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It won’t be a highlight of the year, and it’s ultimately forgettable, but The Heat is surprisingly entertaining. It never threatens to hit the ‘above average’ mark and could afford to lose 20 minutes off of it’s run time, but with McCarthy driving the comedy, and displaying decent chemistry with her co-lead, this is a film that contains enough laughs to justify watching.

6/10

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