The Heat is a mildly amusing buddy cop movie that breaks formula only in that the two leads are female. It’s like a raunchy version of Beverly Hills Cop meets Miss Congeniality – in Boston. I didn’t love it, but the movie does fill a cinematic void for a mainstream, non-apocalyptic comedy.
Sandra Bullock plays an uptight FBI agent named Sarah Ashburn who is forced to team up with a foul-mouthed cop named Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) to bring down a ruthless drug lord. Their partnership evolves from mutual loathing to mutual respect as they slam a few drinks, commiserate over personal and professional relationships, and chase down the bad guys.
The comedic chemistry is definitely there, but both women deserve a better vehicle for their talents. The Heat suffers the same near-fatal flaw that plagued McCarthy and Jason Bateman in Identity Thief. The whole is not nearly as great as the sum of its parts. The Heat is certainly better – and funnier – than Identity Thief, but it doesn’t rise to the level of a Bridesmaids. It starts off really strong, but unravels a bit in the second half as the characters start doing stuff that’s well, out of character. For instance, there’s this scene at Denny’s… oh, never mind.
The Heat is rated ‘R’ – mostly for raunch, rampant use of the f-word, and a few cringe-worthy moments involving sharp instruments. It’s funny, but not appropriate for kids.