Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Kaitlin Olson, Spoken Reasons, Demian Bichir, Tony Hale, Taran Killam, Michael Rapaport, Jessica Chaffin, Bill Burr, Dan Bakkedahl, Jamie Denbo, Michael McDonald, Adam Ray
RunTime: 1 hr 57 mins
Rating: M18 (Coarse Language and some violence)
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Official Website: http://www.theheatmovie.com/
Opening Day: 27 June 2013
Synopsis: In the new raucous comedy from Paul Feig (director of "Bridesmaids"), Sandra Bullock plays straight-laced FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn, a methodical investigator with a reputation for excellence - and hyper-arrogance. Melissa McCarthy is Boston Police Officer Shannon Mullins, foul-mouthed with a very short fuse. Neither has ever had a partner, or a friend for that matter. When these two wildly incompatible law officers must join forces to bring down a ruthless drug lord, they find themselves fighting against a powerful crime syndicate, but even worse, against each other.
The good cop-bad cop routine gets a makeover in Paul Feig’s (Bridesmaids, Freaks and Geeks) latest vehicle The Heat, by playing up the expert comic timing of two funnywomen to rather interesting effect. Straitlaced FBI special agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) has a natural instinct for busting hidden dope and comes armed with high qualifications, overconfidence and a motivation to prove herself. In a bid to win a promotion, she takes on a high-profile assignment in Boston and reluctantly partners Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), an in-your-face local detective whose vocabulary is generously peppered with expletives. Totally “real”, she pulls no punches and plays by her own rules. Neither of them are the most popular officers around, likely a consequence of their raw ambition and overall refusal to abide by gender stereotypes in male-dominated profession.
Their partnership begins with a tumultuous start as Mullins takes offence at Ashburn’s decision to interrogate her witness without permission, and her territorial reaction results in a hilarious confrontation in her boss’s office. Ever the career-minded professional, Ashburn recognizes the importance of the partnership to her potential promotion, and decides to make peace in order to track down a drug cartel boss. The pair storm through the neighbourhoods of Boston, leveraging on each other’s strengths while reconciling their differences.
When opposites are presented to each other, they form a mirror for the each other’s shortcomings, and perhaps part of the attraction comes from the patching of those gaps. In an attempt to bug a cartel member’s mobile phone, Ashburn steps out of her comfort zone and strips down while Mullins provides the distraction in an entertaining scene at the club. Sure, they’re not the hottest girls around, but they’re the ones who’ve got all the attention. The stakes go up when Mullins’ brother’s involvement with the cartel puts her family at risk. The belligerent partnership metamorphoses into warm friendship as both women come to emphathise with each other’s vulnerabilities. Even when the world is against them, both detectives are more than confident of holding their own and solving the case on their own terms.
The story’s direction is completely predictable, but it is the script – down-to-earth, genuine and liberally dowsed in R-rated language – that boosts the movie, alongside the winning appeal of the two leads. As she’s established before in her Miss Congeniality films, Bullock is witty, naturally droll and looks good with a gun. McCarthy combines hard-nosed physicality with dewy-eyed tenderness, creating a character you can empathise with and would want on your side of the ring in a fight.
A respected writer, producer and director, director Feig is perhaps best known for the massive 2011 box-office hit Bridesmaids. The female-led comedy raked in global earnings of US$300 million, established leading star Kristin Wiig as a bonafide comedy film star and introduced McCarthy as a capable comedian with a physicality that’s absent among most Hollywood actresses. The story here tries hard to make you laugh, sometimes too hard (you can tell Bullock knows when to milk it when she’s delivering a particularly amusing line), but also unexpectedly tugs at your heartstrings: Bullock and McCarthy share a good chemistry and their scenes together, in particular the improv-heavy ones in the bar, demonstrate the rapport between the two.
(Although predictable and occasionally too eager to please, The Heat is a heartwarming comedy packed with laughs and a comfortable camaraderie between leading ladies Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy)
Review by Wong Keng Hui