moviebuff801: The Heat Review

Posted: July 1, 2013 by moviebuff801 in moviebuff801's Movie Reviews

Director Paul Feig’s The Heat, his follow-up to 2011’s surprise comedy smash Bridesmaids, recycles two genres, one already tired out and the other (hopefully) on its way out soon: the buddy cop movie and the R-rated raunch comedy.  It’s not just that this film recycles those genres, it’s that it recycles them with no real skill and with a depressing shortage of laughs, making the end product a laborious exercise in the various ways writers and directors can suck any potential comedy out of a scene until there’s nothing left but painfulness in the form of dialogue and character interaction.  And boy, are those scenes painful.  Not as painful as, say, a man getting shot in the testicles (which is an actual scene in the movie), but sometimes, it feels like it’s not too far off.  Needless to say, if I had experienced any more of The Heat than I had to, then I would’ve started feeling just a bit jealous of all the nameless thugs who get shot throughout the course of this film, and thus got to exit this movie before me.  By the way, can you tell yet that I hated this movie?

The plot of The Heat goes as all these kinds of plots go: FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) has aspirations of making it big in The Bureau, and hopes to get promoted to a recently vacated higher-up position.  The assignment of tracking down a mysterious Russian mobster/drug dealer, however, is not the kind of case Ashburn particularly wants, but her superior named Hale (Demian Bichir) insists as all superiors in cop movies do that she take the case if she wants to prove herself.  This takes Ashburn to Boston, where she meets her new partner: the foul-mouthed, street-wise Detective Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), one of those maverick cops so dedicated to her craft, she actually arrested her own brother (Michael Rapaport) and has others in her precinct frightened of her.  Ashburn herself is so conservative, that her idea of profanity is “F you,” so these two are naturally, clearly, logically begging to be partnered up.  In the local FBI field office, Ashburn meets a welcoming fellow agent named Levy (Marlon Wayans), who assists the two ladies in their investigation from time to time, and is also something of a budding love interest for Ashburn.  Now, readers…I don’t know about you, but the image of Sandra Bullock and Marlon Wayans as a couple is not an image I want in my mind.  Ever.  Anyway, what follows is a series of allegedly funny shenanigans in which Ashburn and Mullins gradually bond and solve the case.

Comedy, like most other things, is subjective, and what someone may find funny, someone else might find annoying as hell.  That about sums up my reaction to this movie.  I would’ve liked to sit in on the story meetings during pre-production, listen to all the ideas which would eventually end up in the final product, and just say, “Really?”  So many scenes in The Heat try very hard to be funny, and yet they continually fall so flat on their faces, that if you listen carefully, you just might make out the sound of breaking noses.  Now, I admit there were moments where a one-liner here and there would catch me off-guard and provide a decent laugh, but most of the time, there are large stretches that are either too lazy or trying too hard to make you laugh.  I had a similar experience earlier this year with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, in which the humor involved animal cruelty, drugging audience members and inflicting self-pain to get applause.  And, it was about halfway through The Heat when I thought to myself, “Man, Burt Wonderstone is looking funnier by the minute.”

Let me share with you an example, or maybe two, of how this movie is so unfunny.  If you want to avoid spoilers, then skip on down to the next paragraph, but trust me, spoiling this movie should almost be considered a public service.  Two scenes stand out to me as particularly unpleasant; not unfunny, mind you, but unpleasant.  One is a scene where Ashburn and Mullins are at a Denny’s, and a customer suddenly starts choking.  Ashburn gets the idea to perform an improvised tracheotomy.  This results in this poor, innocent man having his throat cut into, then through a bit of “funny” mishaps, the wound starts gushing blood.  Then, there’s a scene where Ashburn and Mullins have to escape some captors as they’re tied to a chair.  By this point, Ashburn has a knife stuck in her leg.  Mullins pulls out the knife to cut her bonds, but has to stick the weapon back in so the bad guys won’t catch on.  Of course, it takes her a few tries to get it back in the “right” spot.  *Sigh.*  I guess I missed the memo that said pain and suffering to that much of an extent is now a form of hilarity.  Of course, this is only a year after when a shot-off penis was used as a shameful sight gag in 21 Jump Street, so maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.  But I think I still have the right to be pissed off.

Look, one of the keys to successful comedy is either charm or heart, and both of those are things which run drier in The Heat than a single drop of water that falls on the ground in a desert.  Consider last year’s Ted, which had a surprising amount of both charm and heart, and that helped all the vulgarity feel less aggressive.  And, aggressive is the best way to describe the comedy in The Heat.  It’s just an endless assault of profanity and vulgarity, very much with a feeling of “Let’s throw everything at the screen and see what sticks.”

With The Heat, Melissa McCarthy has solidified the thought that she was an amusing presence who has now become shoved down our throats so much, no amount of Pepto Bismol can alleviate the amount of indigestion pummeling our stomachs right now, especially after this movie.  McCarthy seems like a nice-enough person in real life, but her on-screen persona has worn out its welcome.  Sandra Bullock looks like she regretted the decision to be in this movie since the first day of shooting, and her character here seems pretty similar to her one in Miss Congeniality.  To be fair, this pairing of actresses has its moments of comedy sprinkled here and there, but the problem is that we have to trudge through so much crap to get to them.

To say The Heat is one of the worst comedies I’ve seen in a while is an understatement.  It’s one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a while, period.  Watching it inspired flashbacks to 21 Jump Street, and considering that was the last comedy I had this much disdain for, that’s just another thing I hold against this movie.


  1. Wow. What a shame. I like Bullock and hoped to see her in something funny. I haven’t laughed in a long while.

  2. reel411 says:

    ouch. yeah…it looks bad

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