There’s no shortage of reasons to complain about life right now, but the lack of a sequel, spin-off or any further follow-up to Paul Feig’s 2013 buddy cop movie is sheer criminality, and reason enough to for anyone to write to their Congressman or woman. Teaming a typically abrasive Melissa McCarthy with sweet Sandra Bullock for a roistering mix of action and pratfalls, this doubles down on McCarthy’s brand of in-your-face humour. It also gives Bullock, who left unchecked can lead to the utter horrors of All About Steve, someone worthwhile to play off.
Straight out of Quantico, Sarah Ashburn (Bullock) is forced to team up with Shannon Mullins (McCarthy) to nail down a drug syndicate. One does things by the book, the other gets things done her way, taking pretty much everyone down to Chinatown her way in an old-school Boston style. Of course, the two cops, one FBI, one street, hate each other at first, but bond as sisters in the face of car-bombs, torture and general mayhem.
Parks and Recreation writer Katie Dippold wrote The Heat as a spec script, and it shows; it’s by the numbers as plotting, and Feig, hot from Bridesmaids, doesn’t bother taking things too seriously. But what makes this worth Smithsonian preservation is the chemistry between the two leads; the scenes where the girls attempt to adjust their outfits to pass muster in a sleazy nightclub, or do some heavy-day drinking in a dive bar, are amusingly played out. It’s hard to imagine that McCarthy once played so wholesome and innocent as Sukie in the Gilmour Girls, but she nails her foul-mouthed character here, rambling about ‘window blankets’ (curtains) and asking rhetorical questions like ‘What kind of person closes the door before they use a toilet?’ ‘Humans,’ is Ashburn’s curt answer
There a stream of warm humour here that makes The Heat the female cousin of 21 Jump Street, a franchise mentioned by name here. Essentially, this is a cop movie parody from a female perspective, and celebrates the way that Sarah and Shannon bond together to outsmart the macho, dumb guys around them. We need more female buddy copy movies, and the laughs keep coming while The Heat is on.