REVIEW: The Heat

When we first heard that Sandra Bullock had signed on to co-star in a comedy with Melissa McCarthy directed by Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, it sounded like a comedic bullseye. But sometimes what looks good on paper, just doesn’t click on screen….but that’s not one of these times. The Heat is an absolutely hilarious comedy that is the funniest thing you’ll see this summer (sorry, This Is The End).

Bullock has always been the queen of big screen comedy, but her only screen partner that really matched her game was Hugh Grant. Well, add Melissa McCarthy to that list now.  The Bridesmaids co-star brings her chaotic, crass energy to the screen and forces Sandra into a totally different realm.  The two actresses are fantastic together, creating the best chemistry on screen all year. The Heat is the most profane, unsweetened Sandra Bullock comedy you’ll ever see (which might turn off some fans), but it’s also the funniest.  Granted, most of the swearing comes from McCarthy.  Bullock stays away from the profanity for most of the film, but in a late scene, she finally lets loose, and it caused the audience I saw it with to burst into applause.  It’s a hilarious moment to see America’s Sweetheart start cursing and giving the finger.

Bullock plays FBI agent Sarah Ashburn, who’s very good at her job, but uptight and arrogant (it’s a variation of Miss Congeniality‘s Gracie Hart).  She’s sent to Boston to track down a drug lord, and quickly runs into Boston cop Shannon Mullins (McCarthy).  The two are forced to work together on the case, both to their dismay.  It’s typical buddy-cop stuff, but it’s rarely been done this well.

The smartest thing that the film does is make the plot very real.  Brace yourself, Sandra gets stabbed in this movie, and it ends up being hilarious.  It doesn’t make the case of the drug ring goofy.  It’s a serious threat with people losing their lives.  It grounds the film with real stakes.  The goofiness instead comes from these 2 characters joining forces and trying to adapt to each other’s styles.  It leads to scenes that will have you howling.   The duo hit up a nightclub trying to get close to a target, and then in a later scene, the two get drunk in a dive bar.  Both sequences left me howling to the point that my chest started to hurt. It’s that funny.

It’s so much fun to see 2 big stars, especially Bullock, willing to do anything for a laugh.  Whether it’s hiking their nose up with a piece of tape, sporting spanks, blowing a peanut out of their nose, falling over a chain fence, the ladies are game for anything.  There’s no vanity in this movie whatsoever.

The film also manages to smartly balance its plot and comedy set pieces for its two stars. You’re never longing for the film to get back to the funny or move the plot forward.  It’s all a very natural flow as it moves towards its conclusion.

This was built to be Bullock and McCarthy’s show and they don’t disappoint. They are an unlikely comedic force that have a heat that is truly to be reckoned with.

Grade: A

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