The buddy cop genre has been the sole prerogative of male actors so far, but that formula gets a well-deserved kick in the pants with The Heat. The film stars Sandra Bullock as Ashburn, a by-the-book FBI agent who is reluctantly partnered with Melissa McCarthy’s foul-mouthed Boston cop Mullins while on the hunt for an elusive drug lord.
Anyone who’s a fan of the genre will recognize set ups and plot points raided from the canon of great buddy cop movies like 48 Hrs, Lethal Weapon, Bad Boys and Beverly Hills Cop; director Paul Feig dutifully ticks off all the clichés of the genre. And while the drug-bust plot of The Heat is rather lame, it takes a backseat to the inspired lunacy of its protagonists and their firecracker chemistry.
McCarthy, who landed an Oscar nomination for her breakout performance in Feig’s 2011 sleeper Bridesmaids, hits her stride as the ball-busting street cop with a blatant disregard for protocol and her seniors. In one of the film’s most hilarious scenes, when she’s told she must report to Bullock, she starts sifting through her boss’ office looking for his testicles. Bullock, playing an officer so focused on her job that she’s virtually friendless, sportingly lets McCarthy steal the best moments, and yet delivers plenty laughs herself as the perfect foil.
Like Bridesmaids, which proved that women can do dirty humor just as well as men, what’s interesting about The Heat is that it never shies away from either action or profanity because of the gender of its protagonists. There are a fair number of explosions and bloody shootouts here, and don’t even get me started on McCarthy’s potty mouth.
This isn’t a film that’ll stay with you long after you’ve left the cinema, but it’s two hours well spent. I’m going with three out of five for The Heat. Watch it for the terrific Melissa McCarthy who shines every moment she’s on screen.