The Heat (2013)

The HeatFBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is in line for a promotion at the New York field office where she works, but in order to convince her superior that she’s right for the role she must head to Boston and investigate a drug kingpin by the name of Larkin. No sooner has Ashburn arrived, however, than is she butting horns with Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) of the Boston Police Department, a foulmouthed maverick whose own brother (Friends‘ Michael Rapaport, here looking very old indeed) may have ties to Larkin’s organisation. When Hale (Demián Bichir) refuses to step in, Ashburn must learn to work with Mullins if she wants the position in question.

Having reassured audiences in 2010 that women could be just as vile, unlikeable and occasionally, inadvertently amusing as men when it came to gross-out comedies, Sabrina Spellman’s one-time science teacher Paul Feig has this time set it upon himself to prove that they can make cop thrillers that are just as forgettable, too. Satisfied with breaking one mould, Feig and writer Katie Dippold clearly see little need to subvert or deconstruct any others, and thusly leave their fastidious cop and fat cop to bicker their way through every cliche imaginable.

Essentially playing Miss Congeniality all over again (only with inner beauty occasionally standing in for outer beauty), Sandra Bullock stars as an unappreciated special agent who her colleagues feel is in need of a makeover. McCarthy, meanwhile, reprises her role from Bridesmaids and The Hangover: Part III as Mrs Zach Galifianakis — the sort of person you wouldn’t abide in real life, let alone pay good money to watch on the big screen — in order to distance herself further from the really very nice people she used to play on TV. Both actresses are above the material, and it’s genuinely painful to see them being out-performed by Marlon Wayans, quite possibly the film’s only bearable character.

It’s not even funny; the script’s one or two humorous gags were too heavily used during the film’s advertising campaign to even raise so much as a smile in the cinema. In fact, for a film which supposedly aims to bring a little equality and diversity to Hollywood, The Heat is often shockingly offensive. One of the film’s most prominent running jokes essentially amounts to laughing at an albino character for looking different, while an unprovoked attack on a disabled nurse in the film’s final few minutes is one of the most malicious and misjudged of recent memory. It isn’t exactly Hot Fuzz, that’s for sure.

Many reviews have commended The Heat for focusing on women in the workplace, and it’s undeniably true that the film has opened the door for women in what is still generally seen as a traditionally male genre, and indeed profession. What they fail to note, however, is that while the names might be different, the roles themselves are exactly the same. We have indeed waited a long time for a cop thriller starring women, but it seems we will have to wait a little longer for one that actually has something to say.

2-stars

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

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