An uptight FBI Special Agent is paired with a foul-mouthed Boston cop to take down a ruthless drug lord.
As I began watching “The Heat,” I was reminded of another movie where the opening shows the two main characters of the film, separately, doing their own thing, before they end up having to become partners. That movie? “Lethal Weaon.” Riggs and Murtaugh start out hating each other but inevitably, they become friends. Such good friends that there were three more sequels. There have been many imitations and iterations of that formula and for the most part, they were never as good but with “The Heat,” I found myself laughing out loud and for me, that’s some feat. I sometimes chuckle and occasionally giggle but laugh out loud? Unheard of! The chemistry between Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy was just like watching “Lethal Weapon” for the first time: MAGIC. The filmmakers hit all the right notes and there couldn’t have been two better actors in their respective roles.
The story involves drug dealers and shootouts and explosions, standard action fare but when Bullock and McCarthy are onscreen together, nothing else matters, the story and plot fades into the background and we just sit back and let the two actors do their thing. Bullock plays F.B.I. Agent Sarah Ashburn while McCarthy plays foul-mouthed Boston cop Shannon Mullins and together, they have to take down a ruthless drug lord. The action scenes are well done but it’s the constant bickering and banter between the two which eventually, and inevitably, turns into friendship. Michael Rapaport plays McCarthy’s brother Jason who has just been released from prison and provides an emotional tie to Mullins’ personal life with her insufferable family and winds up working for the drug lord, against his sister’s wishes and it was a delight to see SNL alumni Jane Curtin in a small but funny role as McCarthy’s mother as well as Marlon Wayans, playing a fellow F.B.I. Agent with the hots for Bullock.
The only downside about “The Heat” is that the supporting cast is so solid you wish they all had more screen time. All eyes are focused on the main attraction of Bullock and McCarthy and Director Paul Feig delivers a viable comedy with quick-witted dialog and outstanding chemistry between the leads but also unexpectedly tugs at your heartstrings. The violence is played as funny, with McCarthy’s character being so completely off the rails that viewers can’t help but laugh. In the end, “The Heat” is really an excuse for two very funny and talented stars to tear it up on screen together, and works as a buddy cop movie in the tradition of “Lethal Weapon” and “48 Hours.” In recent interviews, Bullock stated that she would not come back for a sequel to “The Heat” but here’s hoping that with the right script and director, she might just change her mind. Highly recommended.
Available on Blu-ray & DVD October 15th