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2 reviews, 6 user ratings

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Heat, The
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Makes The Basketball Team Seem Comparatively Likable."
1 stars

The new action comedy "The Heat" arrives in theaters with the boast that it comes from the director of "Bridesmaids," that raunchy, female-driven comedy that scored surprisingly big at the box-office a couple of years ago and even took home a couple of Oscar nominations to boot. That is true--Paul Feig did indeed direct both movies--but other than the presence of Melissa McCarthy, whose breakthrough performance earned her one of those nominations, and a fondness for raunchy humor, the two could not be more different. Admittedly, I was not much of a fan of "Bridesmaids"--it often struck me as far too rambling and undisciplined for its own good--but I will concede that it was ambitious and did allow a rare chance for women to show that they could also do a form of screen humor just as wacky and outrageous as any man. "The Heat," on the other hand, is a squalid little sprat of a film that betrays whatever promise that "Bridesmaids" held on a buddy cop movie that makes the low-level likes of "Another 48 HRS" and "Dead Heat" look like veritable founts of wit and originality by comparison

As befitting the parameters of the buddy cop genre, "The Heat" offers viewers a tale in which two wildly different people are thrown together in order to pursue a case and while there is mutual hatred between them at first, respect and friendship eventually grows between them and this allows them to finally crack their case and shoot all the bad guys in the face. Sandra Bullock is a strait-laced and ambitious FBI agent who is disliked by all of her colleagues because of her core competence and know-it-all nature and Melissa McCarthy is a borderline psychotic Boston cop who physically and verbally abuses perpetrators and colleagues alike and who appears incapable of saying anything in a tone other than a shrill shriek.

For reasons too complicated to get into, the two have a rocky first meeting--Bullock is mega-condescending while McCarthy responds by cheerfully threatening to beat her to death--and are then partnered up to take down drug dealers or gangsters or the like. (I am pretty sure that the bad guys are drug dealers but sheer boredom prevents me from bothering to look it up to make sure.) As expected, they first hate each other but respect and. . .well, you know the drill. Hell, even if you don't know the drill, I suspect you know the drill in this particular case. It all ends as one might expect it to--chases, gunshots and wackiness during the end credits that offers little improvement on the comedy appearing in the film proper.

Okay, I know that I am supposed to forget about the plot in a high-concept vehicle like this and Lord knows it seems as if screenwriter Katie Dippold did just that from time to time. The trouble is, nothing else works particularly well here either. Even though the plot here would barely fill the length requirements for an hour-long episode of a particularly uninspired TV show, "The Heat" clocks in at nearly double that length thanks to too many extraneous characters, too many plot devices that go nowhere and, most damaging of all, way too many scenes in which, as is becoming a habit in most contemporary comedies, it is painfully apparent that all involved decided to simply toss the script away and wing things on the assumption that every line they come up with will be a pearl of wit. Based on the quality of the script, that might not have been the worst idea but it doesn't come off here because a.) none of the improvs are particularly inspired and b.) it is painfully clear at times that whatever talents Bullock may possess, a flair for improv is not among them.

Another problem with "The Heat" it is really violent. Check that--it is really, really violent and far more so than the ads might suggest. Look, I have never been known for being particularly squeamish but the amount of violence on display for what is essentially a buddy comedy does seem a little excessive at times, especially for a film aimed at a target audience with certain expectations as to what may be in store for them. For example, I am willing to accept the numerous times in which we see people getting shot in a messy fashion, even the bit in which we get a close-up of someone getting shot in the crotch. (Don't worry--a guy takes that particular hit because, after all, if a woman got shot in that particular area, it might not have seemed quite as funny with focus groups.) I am even willing to overlook the part in which a character has a knife jammed into their thigh and then spends the next few minutes having it painfully removed and stuck back into place. However, when the film comes to a halt so that our heroines can attempt to perform an instant tracheotomy on a choking victim (a character that we have never seen before nor ever will again) and make a gory botch of it before hitting upon the idea of doing the Heimlich maneuver a second time, I would have had a problem with that even if the rest of it were on the level of something like "48 Hrs" or another competent buddy film.

Of course, "The Heat" is the kind of movie where problems such as these can be ignored or at least temporarily overlooked as long as the chemistry between the leads is solid and that is where the film comes up shortest. For starters, neither Bullock nor McCarthy are playing characters that are even remotely believable, interesting or likable and it seems the act of highest perversity to take an actress as instantly engaging as Bullock and then ask her to play someone whose abrasiveness rubs everyone she meets the wrong way--it is like hiring Drew Barrymore for your movie and asking her to play the bad guy in "Saw." McCarthy, on the other hand, starts off abrasive and obnoxious and proceeds to stay there for the duration and the result is so off-putting after a while that the whole thing feels like a one-note performance delivered by someone who has never even seen or touched their instrument before that moment. Together, they strike zero sparks--Bullock looks like a deer in the headlights most of the time while McCarthy comes across as so obnoxious during her extended bouts of riffing and scatting that she seems to be trying to give Vince Vaughn a run for his money in terms of sheer irritation. Seriously, her equally off-putting performance in the equally unwatchable "Identity Thief" almost feels like a model of Gary Cooper-like stoicism compared to what she does here.

Because it is aimed squarely at a demographic that is usually woefully underserved during the summer moviegoing season, I have no doubt that "The Heat" will become a big hit. The good news is that if it clicks with viewers, it might inspire Hollywood to make more films aimed at that particular target audience in the hopes of repeating its success. The bad news is that if it does click with viewers, it may only inspire Hollywood to simply offer carbon copies of what it has to offer--a dispiriting thought even if it were a good and entertaining film but even more so when you consider just how ugly, abrasive and deeply unfunny it actually is. Essentially a two-hour headache masquerading as a movie, this is as stupid and laugh-free as can be and when it is over, I can imagine even the most ardent feminists stumbling out of it afterwards and wondering amongst themselves if maybe Jerry Lewis actually did have a point after all.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=23889&reviewer=389
originally posted: 06/27/13 22:21:29
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User Comments

4/19/14 Monday Morning Are you kidding? This movie is hilarious - TONS of classic 1-liners by McCarthy 5 stars
1/03/14 oz1701 i couldnt get past the first 10 minutes - the idea had potential that was sadly unrealised. 1 stars
11/17/13 mr.mike Funny and not bad at all. 4 stars
10/23/13 Jolly Gad, am I glad I watched this on a $1.00 DVD rental as opposed to paying theater price for 1 stars
8/13/13 Charles Tatum Tons of laughs and chemistry 4 stars
7/05/13 KingNeutron I liked it more than I thought I would, but it's not 4 everyone - LOL 4 stars
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  28-Jun-2013 (R)
  DVD: 15-Oct-2013

  31-Jul-2013 (15)

  11-Jul-2013 (MA)
  DVD: 15-Oct-2013

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