After months of waiting, The Heat arrives in theaters around the States this weekend and I, for one, couldn’t be more pleased to tell you to go see it. No. Seriously. Go see it. Now.
Easily the funniest film of 2013 so far, The Heat had me laughing so hard I would’ve normally been embarrassed. We’re talking fluids-flowing-from-the-nose style laughter. And it’s infectious. The Heat’s humor appears to be more or less universal in its appeal as evidenced by an audience literally erupting in fits of laughter. In fact, I walked out of the theater feeling better than I have in months. It goes to show you what the power of comedy can do.
Starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, The Heat is directed by Paul Feig whose work on TV shows like The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation reads like a primer on how to make tightly woven, edgy comedy for a new generation of attention-strapped viewers. Which is why, coming in at just shy of 2 hours, The Heat may appear long – especially for a buddy-driven crime flick – but Feig, Bullock, and McCarthy squeeze as much as humanly possible out of the film’s runtime.
It’s true that The Heat feels familiar because it draws on the tried and true buddy film formula. There’s the straight-laced, rule-loving Sarah Ashburn (Bullock), who is so lonely and disenfranchised in the male dominated field of the FBI that she resorts to stealing her neighbors cat so she’ll have someone to watch TV with at night. And then there’s the foul-mouthed, hard hitting cop, Detective Shannon Mullins (McCarthy). A woman who plays by her own rules but loves the law enough to collar her own drug-addicted brother.
Without the chemistry between Bullock and McCarthy, and McCarthy’s now-signature-but-strangely-lovable coarse onscreen presence, The Heat may have just faded into the leg-long list of Summer films. After all, there are some seriously decent films out there competing for your hard earned dollars. It would have been a shame, but I think, it’s safe to say, that there is absolutely no chance in that happening. At least not if I have anything to do with it, as I’m grabbing my keys and heading out the door to see it again. Seriously. I am. It’s that funny.
Penned by Katie Dippold, who is currently writing and producing Parks and Recreation, the screenplay has a freshness and feminine sensibility to it that helps create a new kind of buddy flick. That’s not to say – by any means – that The Heat is soft. There is also a physicality to the film that helps elevate it from being unduly quagmired in the “chick flick” genre. Make no mistake; Bullock and McCarthy spend a good portion of the film drinking, getting in fights, packing guns (not to mention grenades and missile launchers), and getting seriously injured. Rest assured, there’s plenty of action here to keep you engaged.
But, the strongest part of The Heat is its humor. The dialogue will have you slapping your face in disbelief, joy, unabashed laughter, and fits of pure happiness. Bullock hits her stride mid-way through the film and keeps pace with McCarthy who is so at home in the role of Detective Mullins I hope the filmmakers are already considering a sequel.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t give some love to the creators of the film’s opening and ending title sequences. They lend a retro vibe to the film that is simultaneously fun and potentially franchise-building. That’s right. I mentioned it twice. I’m ready for the sequel. Be sure to check out The Heat and you will be too.
Official site: The Heat