When I first heard Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy were starring in a cop comedy, I looked up the release date and passionately added it to my iPhone calendar.
I have been in love with Sandra Bullock right through her hits (While You Were Sleeping, Miss Congeniality, The Proposal, The Blind Side) and gentle misses (Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Two Weeks Notice, The Lake House, All About Steve). Melissa McCarthy captured my heart way back in Gilmore Girls and Samantha Who before breaking onto the big screen notably in Bridesmaids. In The Heat, FBI Agent Ashburn (Bullock) is sent to investigate the identity of a gruesome drug dealer in Boston. Local detective Mullins (McCarthy) is a hard hitting, loose cannon of a cop and doesn’t appreciate her turf being invaded. Keen to get her hands on the information the FBI has access to, Mullins befriends Ashburn to help track down the dealer. When Mullins’ ex-crim brother gets involved, the crime fighting escalates and the two become united to solve the case. The interplay between Ashburn and Mullins is the main comedic fodder throughout The Heat. Ashburn is the by-the-book, intelligent, socially inept, professionally driven opposite to rough-and-ready, unkempt, instinct driven Mullins. Though some of the jokes are expected (good cop/bad cop routine), most are fuelled by slapstick or shock humour. The crude language has no restraints and every type of bomb will be dropped as Mullins cuts loose on just about anyone. In fact, language is ultimately used as a sign of freedom from the system, to be eventually embraced by Ashburn in an explosive moment of personal growth. There is also a notable pub scene which lasts all night long! I’d liken this scene to a metaphorical road trip, where everyone reaches the end of their own personal understanding and pushes into the next leg of the journey.
The next leg of the journey is the rest of the movie, which will touch your heart, shake your sensible self into shock and have you laughing between squeals of horror. At least, that was my experience. While I appreciate The Heat’s satirical look at drug busting, I thought the many jokes about Albinism were too discriminatory to be funny. Maintained as a running joke (Albino equals bad guy), this specific victimisation does nothing to repeal negative societal stereotypes. As someone who is often the recipient of stereotyping, I don’t think any more fuel is needed in the fire of any social isolation.
That aside, The Heat is a fast-paced, action packed comedy that honours its two leads as unique comedians in an otherwise male dominated genre. Isn’t it nice to have a break from the Judd Apatow’s, Seth Rogen’s and Adam Sandler’s? I’ve seen The Heat twice now (it’s worth watching at least once!) and while the rumours of a sequel have been shut down, I’m waiting for whatever these two ladies do next.