I was sitting in the theater one day sitting through 20 minutes of trailers as well all do these days and low and behold a trailer comes up starring Sandra Bullock as an FBI agent people don’t really respect only this time Melissa McCarthy was also along for the ride. I would have bet my bottom dollar that the title screen I was about to see was going to say MISS CONGENIALITY 3 in fact I even leaned over and whsipered to my wife that that’s what I thought it was. Even after I found out the movie in question was THE HEAT I couldn’t put the weird feeling behind me that it seemed so much like some kind of MISS CONGENIALITY ripoff. Having seen the film that feeling is gone, thankfully, as THE HEAT is far superior to that franchise in almost every way.
Like I’m sure a lot of other dudes do, I have a bit of a soft spot for Sandra Bullock and even as she gets older she remains ridiculously charming and adorable, especially when it comes to her doing random comedy. Granted in THE HEAT she plays more of an uptight and stiff character to Melissa McCarthy’s foul mouthed rough around the edges Boston police officer. Together they team up to take down a Boston drug lord so that Bullock can prove she’s a team player to get a promotion within the FBI she’s been hoping for.
THE HEAT suffers from a similar problem I had with BRIDESMAIDS- it goes on way too long. When comedies start clocking in at two hours or more there tend to be one of three issues- either it can’t find its footing right from the get go, it fizzles out drastically at the end or it is incredibly uneven from beginning to end. THE HEAT falls in the category of a comedy that takes a little too long to get going before some of the better jokes finally start landing their marks. As much as I love Bullock, her character is far too offputing and unfunny at the start to lead off with and the film doesn’t quite get going until Melissa McCarthy finally steps in- then it goes to the next level once the two cross paths.
Bullock doesn’t quite strike me as a queen of improv comedy and in some ways that might be what hinders the film at times, but there is a point when she becomes comfortable interacting with McCarthy when the movie becomes very charming and outright hilarious. There are still a lot of hit and miss jokes, but McCarthy is so much fun to watch in the scenes where it is blatantly obvious she was just riffing on the situation.
The runtime also tends to make the film drift into moments where the comedy becomes uneven and there are scenes that seem to have easily been cut out if for no other reason than they just don’t fit. I’m referring specifically to a scene that for some reason calls back Bullock’s character watching a “how to” channel for how to perform a certain emergency surgical procedure. I suppose that scene supposedly could be telling about her character and her know-it-all attitude, but frankly it just felt forced and an excuse to also add in some offputing violence.
THE HEAT benefits from the chemistry of Bullock and McCarthy in the leads, but even more so from McCarthy’s ability to deliver some hilarious improvised laughs. The nature of the comedy feels far more on-the-fly than it does written for McCarthy specifically, but if I’m wrong and many of the jokes did make it in from the script than hats off to the writer- my gut tells me this has improv written all over it though. THE HEAT does kind of stick around a little longer than I’d like, but its funny and charming enough to be one of the best comedies so far this year, even more so if not for the ridiculous name drop of the film’s title near the end.
Written By: Luke (@CrummyLuke on Twitter)