The Heat Review
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In 2011, director Paul Feig’s R-rated chick flick, Bridesmaids, took the box office by storm (a fact that, to be honest, I still don’t understand), paving the way for a plethora of outrageous new comedies for women. Now, with his follow-up, buddy cop comedy The Heat, Feig attempts to recapture his box office title with a pair of comic chicks and a bunch of cop clichés.

The Heat stars Sandra Bullock as Sarah Ashburn, a by-the-book FBI agent who’s every bit as smug as she is successful. She may be the best at what she does, but nobody likes her for it—so, with a big promotion hanging in the balance, she agrees to take a case in Boston, tracking an elusive drug lord.

The case—along with Ashburn’s pursuit of promotion—is quickly derailed by belligerent Boston detective Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), who has no intention of handing a recent collar over to a stuffy FBI agent. So, with neither woman willing to back down, the two are forced to work together.

  
 
The formula for creating The Heat was a pretty simple one: take the script for a hokey buddy cop comedy from the ‘80s, fill it with cop movie clichés, throw in a bunch of F-bombs, and—for that special comedic twist—cast a couple of women in the lead roles instead of men (but still make them act like men). Outrageous comedy gold, right? Well…not really.

Since the painfully clichéd story is almost entirely superfluous, the film relies on its characters for laughs. Unfortunately, it seems that each one is more irritating than the last. It all starts with Sandra Bullock. On her own, her character is adorably awkward, in a Miss Congeniality kind of way. She’s tough but smart, uptight but still likable—and her restraint and subtlety make her both charming and funny.

But then along comes McCarthy. One character in the film calls her character “bull in a china shop”—and that’s exactly what she is. She’s loud and sloppy and mean. She has no restraint, and she never shuts up. She physically abuses her suspects, and she verbally abuses her superiors—yet, for some reason, she still has a job. Each line that comes out of her mouth is increasingly grating, despite the fact that we’re supposed to understand that, deep down, she really does have a heart of gold. Sadly, though, her golden heart is constantly sullied by her pitch-black tongue. She’s not funny; she’s just rude—and her obnoxiousness is overpowering.

But it doesn’t stop there. The film is populated with irritating supporting characters, from a misogynistic DEA agent (who’s apparently supposed to be funny because he’s an albino) to the entire Mullins family—an obnoxious clan of bad Boston stereotypes. And each one helps to make the attempts at comedy just slightly more excruciating.

For the most part, though, your enjoyment of The Heat will be based on your ability to tolerate McCarthy’s shtick, since her performance sets the tone for the rest of the film. If you think her crude, obnoxious brand of comedy is absolutely hilarious, you’ll be doubled over through most of the film. If not, however, you’ll simply see the film for the painful mess of crudeness and clichés that it really is.


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