The comic pairing of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy is good for a few laughs in “The Heat,” but it’d be good for a lot more if most of the movie’s best gags hadn’t already been spoiled by the previews.
If you’ve seen the red band trailer for “The Heat” at any point in the last six months (the film was originally supposed to open back in April), you already know what you’re in for in “The Heat”: a foul-mouthed buddy-cop comedy from the director of “Bridesmaids” (Paul Feig) in which a prim, by-the-book FBI agent (Bullock) is paired up with a slobbish, crazypants Boston detective (McCarthy) to bring down a drug cartel. Emphasis on “foul-mouthed.”
The buddy-cop comedy has been a thing as far back as “Lethal Weapon” 26 years ago, and Hollywood has struggled to keep the sub-genre feel fresh in the interim (remember “Cop Out”? Ugh!). But the pairing of Bullock and McCarthy works in “The Heat,” if only because it provides McCarthy with the opportunity to make fun of Bullock’s strait-laced demeanor in ways that will have you laughing your dang head off.
But “The Heat” isn’t all about McCarthy hilariously riffing. The script is bursting with laughs that make fun of a variety of topics, from Boston accents to Albinos to Spanx, and it even lets other cast members take shots at McCarthy (says one of the villains, “You look like one of the Campbell’s Soup kids who grew up and became an alcoholic”).
I laughed out loud a lot during “The Heat,” but the movie does run into a couple of issues once the plot takes over. The film could probably be viewed as a send-up of the buddy-cop genre, complete with the agents abusing their power by pestering perps and staking out abandoned warehouses where drug runners always seem to be conducting business. For the most part, “The Heat” plays all of this for laughs. The excessive violence, on the other hand? Well, it’s kind of hard to make spurting neck wounds seem funny.
Somehow or other, though, Bullock and McCarthy find a way to make light of the film’s graphic violence. If someone is shot in the crotch in the real world, it’d be horrific. When these two shoot someone in the crotch in “The Heat,” it’s downright hilarious.
★★★ out of ★★★★
Rated R for bloody violence and virtually non-stop profanity. 117 minutes, 2013.
Director: Paul Feig. Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy.
Read all of Jesse Hoheisel’s reviews at AFistfulofPopcorn.com.