Posted on 8/17/13 04:33 PM
Paul Feig seems to be a director who is starting to get a knack for girl powered R-rated comedies. After the success of the excellent bridesmaids, he returns to this apparently lucrative sub-genre with The Heat. It's a clever niche to go for really, if you think about it. The "you go girl" attitude mixed with the raunchy humour makes it an attractive piece of saturday night escapist entertainment for both sexes. It's too bad ,then,that "the Heat" doesn't reach the comedic highs of Feigs last outing and is dragged down by a formulaic plot. Fortunately though, its saving grace is found in its two leads, especially in McCarthy.
The film follows FBI Agent Sarah Ashburn, a straight-laced career-orientated woman in the FBI who is sent to Providence to take down a drug lord in the city. Its there she meets and eventually partners up with the foul mouth and tough as nails Boston lady cop Shannon Mullins ( Melissa McCarthy). Cue the obligatory scenes of at first conflict between the two where they squabble of their differing methods, of getting shouted at their superiors and of eventually finding common ground and teaming up to beat the bad guy. The film seems to think that by having two ladies in the lead role it's enough for the ideas to seem fresh.It isn't. The buddy cop cliches hold the film back at the early stages and the comedy is stagnant at first as it feels like the film is going through the motions.
All that being said there is no doubt of the chemistry between the two leads. McCarthy and Bullock are basically playing characters they've played before (Bridesmaids and Miss Congeniality respectively), and they work well off each other, even they take to time to warm up to one another. McCarthy is especially noteworthy here as she commits once again to a warts 'n' all comedic performance. She is increasing becoming a welcoming presence and it seems she had about 70 per cent of the films best lines. The Humour itself ranges from the crude to the broad and it doesn't always land. As the film goes on,However, the chemistry between the leads strengthens and the comedy benefits as a result.
The film could also sometimes go off focus with mixed results. The scenes of McCarthy's family felt forced and grating while the set piece of a failed impromptu tracheotomy was one of the highlights. To its credit, the jokes that didnt work didn't feel overbearing. And even if a film like The Other Guys subverted the genre norms better, the comedy here was at least more consistently funny. And for all its feminist undertones, this is still the most palatable way I can think of the "you go girl" message coming across. You Know with Russian Roulette and the gun is aimed at your man parts.
A passable Buddy Cop comedy that's elevated by the strength of its leads.