The Heat (2013)

Me and Orson Welles (74)

What do you get when you combine the lovely Sandra Bullock and the hilarious Melissa McCarthy? You get The Heat, and while it does not compare to Paul Feig’s masterpiece Bridesmaids, it is pure comedic gold and one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a while.

Buddy cop movies are so popular these days – the odd couple dynamic has been the lifeblood of the comedy industry since the silent era. In such a trope, the most important factor is the chemistry between the leads. Sometimes they have it, sometimes they don’t. Bullock and McCarthy have it in buckets. Bullock, who we have come to view as a pretty serious actress, reminds us of her roots in broad comedy here, and while she still retains her image of a precise, meticulous spoil-sport, she does let loose and give a really funny performance. Melissa McCarthy is of course one of the most popular comedic actresses around today, and while I expect her to go into dramatic territory soon hopefully, one can’t really tire of the foul-mouthed, sassy schtick McCarthy has perfected. Here she is able to show some dramatic range, and while the best part of her performance here is her comedic dynamite, her more subtle moments hint that McCarthy is not a one-trick pony in any way.

My complaint about this film? With such a talented cast, why not use them more? My heart rate rose when I saw Jane Curtin’s name in the opening credits – she was one of the pioneers of women in comedy on Saturday Night Live and was brilliant in Third Rock from the Sun – however, she got really nothing to do (except for one very funny line about her changing her name). Taran Killam is the big-fish on Saturday Night Live, but here he was painfully thrust to the background until he finally got his due at the end. I wish he and the rest of the cast got more to do, and the film didn’t focus exclusively on Bullock and McCarthy. I could watch an entire show dedicated to just Mullins’ family, to be perfectly honest.

Some people love this film, others despise it. I personally found it hilarious, smart and while it did go for some lowbrow gags, it made a huge effort to dispel the cliches the genre has formed around these types of films. While not the best comedy ever made, or even the best of the year, it is a lot of fun and very sweet and charming.

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