Friday, June 28, 2013

THE HEAT: The Stars Make an Old Idea Work

June 28, 2013

The opening credits of "The Heat" bring us back to the 1970s cop shows. It was reminiscent of the credits of "Rockford Files" and "Streets of San Francisco" with fast paced scenes of the city streets with the credits in big bold letters.

We meet Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock), an overconfident, intelligent, ambitious but stuck-up FBI agent who was assigned to Boston to apprehend a big drug lord whose exact identity is unknown. Then we meet Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), who is an overweight, foul-mouthed, uncouth, but street-smart Boston detective. 

Of course, circumstances will force these two mismatched ladies to join forces despite their hatred of each other's guts. When Mullins' jailbird brother Jason gets involved with the elusive drug lord, conflicts arise between the two unlikely partners. Will Ashburn and Mullins ever get their act together and bust the notorious drug ring?

OK, this is not exactly original stuff. We've seen stories like this countless times before, both on the big and the small screens. But it is the unique combination of comic talents of Bullock and McCarthy that really make this film crackle and pop. As we know from all their previous comedies, these two ladies are not averse to putting themselves into the most awkward or most embarrassing situations to get the laughs. And they surely do that here!

Bullock basically reprises her "Miss Congeniality" character, as a law enforcer going undercover. But in this film, she is serious, straight-laced and unpopular with her peers, with a back story that gave her an uncommon drive to succeed, poor social skills, as well as her peculiar personality quirks.

McCarthy comes from a loud, wrong-side-of-the-tracks, redneck family. Shunned by her own family, she lives alone in a shabby apartment and drives a shabby car. But she is no-nonsense and fearless when it comes to apprehending criminals, not letting her considerable heft get in the way of her unconventional style of police work.

Overall, I enjoyed watching "The Heat". Seeing the strange-looking poster, I almost passed on it. But I'm such a Sandra Bullock fan, I couldn't resist to see her latest comedy film. Melissa McCarthy I didn't really like too much in her breakout film "Bridesmaids". I was prepared not to like her here. But as the film went on, I grew to like her abrasive character, and her. This film is not perfect (there was a poorly-executed choking scene that choked) nor is it wholesome (the vulgar language went overboard), but simply a lot of fun to watch. The stars make this old idea work -- big time!  7/10

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