Monday, July 1, 2013

Movie Review: ‘The Heat’

**** out of 5
117 minutes
Rated R for pervasive language, strong crude content and some violence
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Article first published as Movie Review: ‘The Heat’ on Blogcritics.

Just a few weeks ago, some people witnessed the attempt by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson to recapture their Wedding Crashers lightning in a bottle. Now director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) is out to do the same thing with the The Heat. Ironically, both films are brought to us by 20th Century Fox, but only one film is audiences bound to seek out. While Feig may not have the comedic heavyweight writing of Kristen Wiig behind the screenplay, stars Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock make sure The Heat never fizzles.

In The Heat, we meet FBI agent Ashburn (Bullock) who lives a lonely life where her best friend is a cat she doesn’t even own. When it’s announced her boss Hale (Demian Bichir) has been promoted, she wants to take his place. Now Hale is sending her to Boston to track down a drug ring where she meets the tough-as-nails loudmouthed Boston Police Detective Mullins (McCarthy). Ashburn runs things by the book while Mullins will go so far as taking out a perp with a watermelon. So immediately the two clash. But of course, they must learn to work together in order for Ashburn to get her shot at a promotion and Mullins to keep her streets safe.

I assure you that while Bullock may be playing an FBI agent, this is definitely not Miss Congeniality 3. This is also the most likeable Sandra Bullock has been in years. For anyone who thought they’d had enough of Melissa McCarthy after Identity Thief, don’t worry, she’s as funny as ever here. And Feig should be given some kind of award for managing to make Marlon Wayans almost charming. There are tons of hilarious cameos scattered throughout — including Feig and screenwriter Katie Dippold — working as a mash up of Feig and Dippold’s yesteryears from MadTV to Freaks & Geeks.

Who knows how much of the screenplay was left in tact because with how much fun McCarthy and Bullock are having on screen, it’s pretty obvious there was plenty of ad-libbing on set. Some of the jokes have the Family Guy routine where they go from funny to not-so-funny then back to laugh-out-loud hilarious. The Heat certainly proves that Paul Feig can make a laugh-till-you-tear-up comedy without the help of uber-producer Judd Apatow. While The Heat 2 is already being rumored on IMDB, I’d welcome film’s newest odd-couple back like a fat tabby cat with open arms.

Photos courtesy Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

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