Review: The Heat
REVIEW: I had high hopes for THE HEAT. It should have been good. It’s director Paul Feig’s follow-up to BRIDESMAIDS which was one of my favorite movies of 2011 and the film that made a star out of Melissa McCarthy, who he’s reteamed with here. Bringing Sandra Bullock on board- herself riding a career high after winning an Oscar for THE BLIND SIDE- seemed like an inspired choice. Most importantly, the red-band trailer was funny. Really funny. What happened?
It’s amazing how the same jokes that worked in a frenetic two minute trailer (“are we engaged? Because you just gave me a ring muthf*cka!”) can just fall flat cut into a close to two-hour comedy. Despite the talent both behind and in front of the camera, THE HEAT really doesn’t work at all. Both McCarthy and Bullock try their best to wring a few laughs out of the material, and occasionally succeed, but overall this is just a mess.
THE HEAT just drags and drags, spending way too much time on a drug caper no one will care about, and pretty much disappeared from my memory five minutes after the credits started to roll. Feig seems to be trying to make Bullock and McCarthy into a new buddy-cop team to be reckoned with, but tonally this seems off. Most of the time THE HEAT is meant as a broad comedy, with both stars playing up the comedy (which in itself seems like a problem, as you need a “straight person” rather than two “funny ones”). Then, THE HEAT takes a detour into action movie territory with a mean spirited henchman, a gruesome torture scene, and occasional blasts of violence that are jarring in such an otherwise light movie. And what’s with the obsession these days with shooting bad guys in the groin? Wasn’t that already done in 21 JUMP STREET? And then they mix dopey comedy and physical gags into the violence, making for an awkward, off-putting mix.
In its defense, THE HEAT certainly isn’t too much of an ordeal to sit through, but it’s hopelessly mediocre. It has a few moments of inspired lunacy. The best part of the film all revolve around McCarthy’s blue-collar Boston family, with her older brother played by Michael Rappaport being tied to the drug-dealing baddies. Jane Curtin is funny as her foul-mouthed mother, who drives around listening to (what else?) Boston’s ‘More than a Feeling’. Joey McIntyre (that’s right) from New Kids on the Block, is hilarious as her family’s most profane member. In another bit of “outside the box” casting that really works, Thomas F. Wilson (BIFF!) from BACK TO THE FUTURE shows up as McCarthy’s brow-beaten boss, and he gets a lot of THE HEAT’s funniest lines, all delivered in a low-key, offhand way that’s the subtlest and most effective humor in the film.
It’s a real drag giving THE HEAT a bad review as I was really hoping Feig and McCarthy would be able to pull this off. McCarthy deserves better big-screen vehicles than this and IDENTITY THIEF, while Bullock seems game to poke fun at herself (and at forty-nine she looks at least a decade younger). THE HEAT had potential, but it’s no LETHAL WEAPON, or more appropriately for the tone, 21 JUMP STREET. It has more in common with bad nineties comedies like V.I WARSHAWSKI. Too bad, this could have been a nice bit of counter-programing.
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|Extra Tidbit:||If GRAVITY's as good as I'm hearing, Bullock could find herself with another Oscar.|