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article imageReview: ‘The Heat’ is a little undercooked Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Jun 29, 2013 in Entertainment
‘The Heat’ is about an uptight FBI agent who is forced to team up with a bad-tempered Boston cop to take down a ruthless drug dealer.
The buddy cop movie has been a long tradition in cinema and there have been a number of memorable duos to take the screen. Riggs and Murtaugh (Lethal Weapon). Lee and Carter (Rush Hour). Tango and Cash (Tango & Cash). Bouchard and Ward (Bon Cop, Bad Cop). Lowrey and Burnett (Bad Boys). But there has not been an all-female partnership to add to the list – until now. In The Heat, two women take to the streets to protect the community from a dangerous drug lord.
Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is an up and coming FBI agent, but her smug approach to the job also makes her one of the most disliked agents at the Bureau. Before being considered for a promotion, she has to demonstrate her people skills by working closely with Boston police on taking down a major drug operation. But being partnered with local cop Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) is both women's worst nightmare.
Even though it is entirely formulaic, the story is fresh because the protagonists are female. But it also makes another point about gender – these women aren't much different from the men who preceded them. One is brash and street smart, while the other is level-headed and logical. They put their lives in danger because it's the right thing to do and they can't stop if they haven't stopped the bad guy. Acting in the moment, their spontaneity often results in choosing the worst possible option available and ending up with a gun to one or both of their heads. With all the elements already established, it's surprising no one has done this before. But director Paul Feig is making a name for himself by re-appropriating traditionally male genres, having previously helmed Bridesmaids.
Nonetheless, even though it's genre bending, it's far from a perfect film. It's not selective enough about which of the conventional beats to hit, making the movie a bit too long. It reuses the same comedic devices more than once, focusing on Ashburn's propriety and Mullins' disorganized lifestyle. As a result, it sometimes seems like they’re trying too hard to include a laugh at preset intervals rather than just allowing the story to play out naturally.
It’s refreshing to see female characters who do not spend large portions of their conversations together talking about men and relationships. A little over-the-top at times, these women still do a respectable job.
Director: Paul Feig
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy and Michael Rappaport
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