THE HEAT IS an earnestly worthwhile, moderately funny movie with a face-lifted Sandra Bullock reprising her now unchanging comedy sthick: uptight spinster loosens up amidst pratfalls.
Unpleasantly ambitious FBI Agent Sarah Ashburn (Bullock) is seconded to the Boston PD, mainly as a means of getting her out of the hair of her bosses in New York and ostensibly to track down a vicious drug lord. In Boston, she finds herself teamed with a foul-mouthed aggressive cop, Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCartney of “Bridesmaids”; director Paul Feig also directed this). It’s a buddy movie, so you know the drill: they hate each other, they fight each other, they get to like each other, they get drunk, they catch the bad guys.
I kept wishing this were funnier. It’s essentially just another middle of the road buddy movie with a few gags. What was interesting about it (and what got me to the cinema in the first place) is that this is the only major studio movie this year so far that features two female protagonists who aren’t there to show off T&A (unlike Lara Croft for example). The movie sets up nice role reversals and shows off its chutzpah in being a movie about kick-ass, bad-ass cops that happens to be a ‘chick movie’. It isn’t about women desperate to find/land/trap men. Indeed, it’s gorgeous Sandra who’s unattached, unlike foul-mouthed larger than life McCartney who can’t seem to fight off the men beating down her door. The issue Agent Ashburn’s (Bullock) subordinates have with her isn’t that she’s brighter and more driven than them, but that she dares to be a woman who’s brighter and more driven. It certainly proves the point that women can be as foul-mouthed as men.
As with all buddy movies, at heart it’s about how people burrow past external defences to find the truth of character and build a relationship based on trust and respect. So, its heart is in the right place. And certainly, Sandra Bullock has now played this same role so often, from the enormously successful “Miss Congeniality” on, that she certainly brings a lot of conviction and experience to it. Nobody struts with a rod up her arse better than Sandra. Indeed, her character here is so close to her character in her comedies that you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’d simply stepped into Miss Congeniality 3
I guess if I found pratfalling funnier, I’d have mustered up more laughs