Saturday, 25 January 2014

Film Review #59

The Heat (2013)
Director: Joe Johnston Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demián Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Tom Wilson, Michael Rapaport, Dan Bakkedahl, Taran Killam

Certificate: 15 Running Time: 112 Minutes

Tagline: "Good Cop, Mad Cop"

You know it's funny. Just a few weeks ago (or so it seems), I rewatched all the Lethal Weapon films and made a largely unspectacular post about them here at Red Parsley during which I mused about the heyday of 'buddy cop' films - a subgenre which had apparently outlived its welcome and gone extinct. But now, released just a few months ago, is the first such example I've seen for a long while which stars Sandra Bullock as FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn and Melissa McCarthy as Boston PD officer Shannon Mullins who are unceremoniously thrust together to take down some generic 'drug lord'. I first heard of it when I saw the trailer at the cinema. It looked stupid and annoying and I had no interest in seeing it. My wife, however, liked the look of it. And so... being the nice guy I am, I bought it for her, which of course meant I had to watch it too. I braced myself and expected the worst and it seemed as though I had been wise in doing so.

Both Ashburn and Mullins are a pain in the arse, you see, and are strongly disliked by their male contemporaries - the former is a highly skilled but very arrogant investigator while the latter also gets results in her own way but is foul-mouthed and unprofessional. Unsurprisingly therefore, when they're forced to work together they don't like each other either, which of course interferes with their investigation in many 'crazy' and 'amusing' ways. Gradually they get accustomed to each other's eccentricities though, and end up tolerating each other for long enough to actually do some police work, perhaps even to such an extent as to identify and catch their intended quarry - the elusive drug kingpin Simon Larkin who is also being investigated by DEA agents Craig (Bakkedahl) and Adam (Killam), and with whom Mullins' brother (Rapaport) has gotten mixed up.

But as with most films of this type, the plot barely exists and is there only to facilitate the antics of the stars. The trouble is, neither of them are particularly appealing. Bullock's Ashburn is neurotic and uptight but bearable; McCarthy's Mullins, however, is awful, to start with at least. Indeed, in the first scenes featuring her, she's being annoying, an enormous pain in the arse, and everyone around her quite justifiably can't stand her. I nearly didn't make it through the first half-hour or so, in fact, but things do improve quite a bit as the film progresses and there is some decent comedic chemistry between the two ladies. Besides Mullins long-suffering boss, Captain Woods (Wilson - Back to the Future's Biff), though, the rest of the cast is little more than functional and could've been played by any number of other actors to similar effect. Still, it is a 'buddy cop' film and, if you can endure the opening act, it's a reasonably good one with some decent gags.

RKS Score: 6/10



  1. Two points higher than my score hehe generous ;)

  2. Haha, if it had stayed as bad as the beginning I wouldn't have even given it that much :P

  3. When I first saw the poster art at the top of this post I immediately thought "Rosie O'Donnel and Sandra Bullock in a cop comedy? Worst movie ever!!"

    Then I realized it wasn't Rosie O'Donnel, but from your lacklustre review it sounds like one to avoid nonetheless. After 20 years of watching Sandra Bullock playing neurotic and uptight charactersI think I have seen enough :)

  4. Yes, I guess you're right there Sean, she does tend to play that type of character a lot, doesn't she? :P As I said, this film does gradually improve after a while but there are plenty of better things out there to watch :)