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Sunday, 27 March 2016

Weekend TV Movie Review: The Heat - Channel 4 (2013)

The Heat
Directed by Paul Feig
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport 
Studio: 20th Century Fox 
Estimated Worldwide Gross: $229,727,774

Plot: Uptight and straight- laced FBI special agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is a methodical investigator with a reputation for excellence- and hyper arrogance. Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), one of Boston's P.D's finest is foul-mouthed & has a short fuse, & uses her gut instinct & street smarts to catch the most elusive criminals. Neither has ever had a partner, or a friend for that matter. When these two wildly incompatible law officers join forces to bring down a ruthless drug lord, they become the last thing anyone expected: buddies

*Artwork courtesy of Mondo 

'The Heat' Is More Lukewarm'

The plot is something borrowed from Lethal Weapon with 2 cops on different ends of the spectrum, who don't always see eye-to-eye, working together to bring down a drug lord. One is foul-mouthed, likes to beat up criminals, the other takes a more methodical approach and relies less on violence. 

I enjoy some of Sandra Bullock's movies (notably The Proposal, Miss Congeniality), but this one misses the mark. There is a lot of cursing, some of it was a bit overused. I thought the pairing of Bullock and McCarthy would work, but it didn't. Maybe it is mainly because it doesn't feel like the action comedy movies of the 80s'. I think the director tried to recreate the magic from Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours - but the script wasn't always necessarily laugh out loud funny (though it rarely was funny), and the action scenes were few and far between. 

I relish watching comedy movies, but I haven't been impressed by, or enjoy most of the modern day efforts, but for 1 or 2 exceptions. The Heat is certainly not one of them and the story needed more work. It's mostly scenes of McCarthy's character acting butch or going all-gung ho by spouting obscenities with Bullock's character standing side by side, saying and doing little in an attempt to move away from her rom-com image that she has built up herself.

Melissa McCarthy's character is one you'll either love or loathe - depending on the context that you view the cursing; whether it was in character and reflected the type of personality she wanted to convey, or that a lot of it was unnecessary and didn't add any value to the movie. 

And though Sandra Bullock has played a cop in the Miss Congeniality movies, she played it far better as Gracie Hart. Her role in The Heat didn't really suit her: as Sarah, she was the reversal of Gracie, who was very tom-boyish, bullish & of whom would take no prisoners. But she also had plenty of funny and nice scenes & lines as well. Here, she played it straight, and this is somewhat to a detriment to Sandra's talents. Ok, sure enough she is typecast in rom-coms and as such, it's good to see her in other roles that people don't associate her with. However, the humour and the script in The Heat didn't translate as well as it should have, because it just wasn't that amusing. Funnily enough, the Gracie Hart type role in this film is played by Melissa McCarthy, who does take it to the next extreme by throwing in the odd F-bombs.  

But otherwise, Sandra Bullock's character very much takes a backseat, and as a result, she becomes something of an afterthought - too much emphasis was placed on her role as a cop - & not enough on her personality. Because of this, her character flatters to deceive, due to the lack of character development by the writers.  

And another problem was that it was over 2 hours long - a lot of what was in the movie could have been cut and perhaps replaced with better scenes, or be it cut out altogether. The film is practically all over the place and with a tone that feels less of a buddy cop movie and more of a post- 2000s comedy film with lots of cursing and mean-spiritedness, which sadly and unfortunately explains the sad state of the comedy movie, which has been going downhill since say, the mid 2000s & why I do not take to most modern comedy films.

The last 20 mins of the movie was pretty interesting though, and it was totally unexpected. I laughed, though not laughed out loud at some moments, but the movie could have and should have been a whole lot better. 

The buddy cop action movie subgenre could do with more female-based movies, but films such as The Heat do little to aid their cause, as Paul Feig treats the subgenre by adding in spite and cynicism.

Final verdict: 

The Heat is a predictable buddy cop movie in a similar vein to Lethal Weapon with occasionally amusing moments from Bullock and McCarthy, though the movie is nothing much to write home about.  

It is more of a vehicle for McCarthy to stretch her comedic talents, rather than for Sandra Bullock's - and that is probably evident to the director, who did Bridesmaids, who knew how to utilise Melissa McCarthy. But that has proven to be a double-edged sword because where he succeeds with Melissa, he has somewhat failed with Sandra Bullock, thus, never managing to bring her character and her comedic acting talents out of her shell.

Occasionally amusing, The Heat is more lukewarm, rather than red hot. But that is indicative of about 90% of today's modern post 2000s comedy movies.

If you want to see Sandra play the funny female cop role better, stick with Miss Congeniality.

'The Heat' is a so-so effort.    


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