FBI Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is sent to Boston to take down a ruthless drug lord, but must find a way to work with another woman used to working alone; police officer Mullins (Melissa McCarthy).
Remember the mid to late 2000s, when Sandra Bullock seemed to be in every comedy under the sun? Well, she has been quiet of late, and while she has the incredible looking Gravity coming out later this year, it seems she felt the time was right to return to the comedy genre that has suited her so well, although rom-com this ain’t.
Predictably, Bullock plays an uptight and single-minded FBI agent whose life is filled with nothing but work and next doors cat. Bullock does well in the role, but this is nothing that we have not seen before. There are touches of Miss Congeniality about the whole film, and Bullock’s performance is certainly familiar. Melissa McCarthy, predictably, plays the loud mouthed, foul mouthed, messy cop whose life is as empty as Ashburn’s. McCarthy does well in the role, but again, this is not surprising. It may have been interesting if the two actresses had swapped roles, and turned the stereotypes of appearance on their head, but then this is not that kind of film, is it? The two actresses work well together and, while they may not be challenging themselves; they bounce off one another well, and are the spark that fuels The Heat.
The supporting cast is made up of Damien Bichir, Spoken Reasons (what an amazing name!), Tony Hale, Kaitlin Olson and Marlon Wayans. While this is a strong cast, the film is really about the ‘Womance’ (I have not yet decided whether I like this term or not!) between Bullock and McCarthy, so the others have little to do.
Writer Katie Dippold – known for her work on Parks and Recreation – does much as Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg did with Hot Fuzz; take a beloved genre and turn it on it’s head. That said, to call this a chick version of Hot Fuzz would be a disservice to the latter. The Heat does well enough with what it is, but it is also a fairly unoriginal story, which is saved by McCarthy’s one-liners.
Director Paul Feig, fresh from Bridesmaids, shows that women can be as unpleasant, overbearing and nasty as men, but somehow, when they drunkenly bond, it is not quite as fun as it would be if the characters were male. As well as this, Feig and Dippold go for every cliché in the book and, rather than twisting them, the only spin put on these banalities are the fact that the lead characters are women. We get the point.
The Heat is an unoriginal story that has been told many times before, the only saving grace for the film is the two strong female leads. McCarthy and Bullock may not do anything new here, but they are doing what they do best; without them The Heat would surely fizzle.