An overlong comedy that is saved by two stars who pull us through every redundant patch. The Heat is a buddy cop movie, but this time it’s a rarity with two female law enforcers. It’s not a serious crime caper worth paying attention to, it’s more goofy. This lark will prove to the studio backing that we all want more Melissa McCarthy! It’s almost easy to overlook that Sandra Bullock is funny in this too, doing her uptight working girl shtick.
Whether it’s interrogating suspects, hitting the dance floor to plant a bug on a suspect, bruising street hustlers with a female brand of justice, or getting soused at the bar after hours, these two find ways to get laughs or settle for that medium size chuckle that we go to the movies for. Director Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”) makes it easier for McCarthy (street cop) and Bullock (FBI agent) to light up a joke by letting every scene run long, but he does let his stars improv and work with funny props. (I got a big laugh over a simple photograph insert of Bullock holding a cat.)
I know, there doesn’t sound much to it. “The Heat” could have easily been a January release dud if it didn’t happen to have so much positive energy from the cast and from a quack-but-hip director. Speaking of the others, there is some good work done by Demian Bechir as the HQ boss, Marlon Wayons as an F.B.I. man, and Michael McDonald as a perp who could be a drug lord named Larkin or the number two man. Michael Rappaport though is losing it, trying to channel the fidgety wild cards he played fifteen years ago but now looks simply bothered.
The movie is full of just a lot of reconnaissance and shakedowns, with Bullock wanting protocol and McCarthy well, just going for the jugular. She weighs 210 pounds, but she can climb through cars, hop over fences, drop and roll like the best of them. Bullock is of course the keen mind that learns to loosen up and get dirty. These two hook-up, make an irresistible pair, bust a move, and never look back. “The Heat” is good mindless funny business. There’s a tad male on female sadism, though, that could turn off one or two viewers.
Dan Bakkedahl, Bill Burr, Jane Curtin, Taran Killam, Joey McIntyre and Spoken Reasons co-star. Sometimes an odd cast brings something extra dope.
117 Minutes. Rated R.
COMEDY / GUILTY PLEASURE / SATURDAY NIGHT GIGGLES
Film Cousins: “Running Scared” (1986); “Loose Cannons” (1990); “Another Stakeout” (1993); “Miss Congeniality” (2000).