Among time has stood the cinematic great cop Buddies: Murtaugh and Riggs, Axel Foley and Rosewood & Taggart, Turner and Hooch. The best of the best. One thing within the buddy cop genre that’s always been missing though, was a great buddy cop flick for all the girlfriend’s of the world who get annoyed every time their other half forces them to watch Lethal Weapon. Just as director Paul Feig created a Hangover-esque film for women, he has now crafted a buddy cop film for them as well. The only difference is, it works just as well for the guys, too.
The Heat finds itself recalling the best 80s Buddy Cop vibes, using all of the familiar plot devices to great extent. First off, you’ve got your typical by the book-uptight FBI agent Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) who is hated by everyone. Then you’ve got your street smart-rule breakin’ cop Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), who sticks to her own playbook. Neither have ever had partners before, until a case brings the two together to bring down a major drug lord. Naturally, by the Buddy Cop standards, the two clash heavily at first, before learning from each other’s weaknesses and strengths to become another memorable cinematic Buddy Cop duo.
One of the film’s best strengths is the casting. There are so many minor roles are that perfectly filled by tons of hilarious comedians. You’ve got Tony Hale (Buster Bluth from Arrested Development) briefly playing a married man who’s been foiled by Detective Mullins in his attempts to get a prostitute; It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia‘s Kaitlin Olsen as a Bulgarian drug dealer; Bull Burr, Joey McIntyre (yes, THAT Joey McIntyre) , and Michael Rappaport as Mullin’s brothers in her awesomely loud and crude typical Boston family; and Michael McDonald as a knife-loving drug dealer. Watching McDonald, the same man who once famously portrayed THIS CHARACTER, order a man to be shot to death and wave around a pack full of knives was both odd and hilarious.
Of course, the two most notable performances are that of the film’s two lead stars. Melissa McCarthy gives the same performance that she usually does, but she does it with such bravado that it still hasn’t lost it’s touch. Sandra Bullock, however, is the real surprise. Normally Bullock comes off as nails on a chalkboard, but somehow she managed to not just be enjoyable in The Heat, but genuinely funny as well. The two actresses seem to share a real bond on screen as well. During one particular scene where Mullins and Ashburn get drunk together at a dive bar, it can’t help but feel like much of it was ad-libbed. Almost as if, the Bullock and McCarthy were really just hanging out having fun together and the cameras just so happened to be rolling.
While for the most part The Heat get’s everything right, there are a couple of times that the film takes one or two slight missteps. For one, there was no action packed car chase sequence, which is a staple of the Buddy Cop genre. Well, there was a hint of one, but no full on-guns blazing-explosion filled chase. Kind of a bummer. But hey, at least there’s a really fat cat in the film? Silver lining?
Paul Feig has pretty much cemented himself as one of the best current comedic directors with The Heat, proving that the success of Bridesmaids wasn’t just a one time shot. There’s no doubt that The Heat will be just as successful, and will undoubtedly bring forth a sequel, hopefully titled The Heat 2: Even Hotter. The film may not be quite as funny or as big of a revelation as Bridesmaids was upon it’s release, but for a director who was once (and forever, by me) known as Tim, the now skinny fat camp counselor from Heavyweights, and a guy who directed a ton of episodes of Arrested Development, Paul Feig has finally and rightfully landed a spot within Hollywood’s top directors. The Heat is not only worth your time, but is one of the best Buddy Cop installments in a LONG time. Or at least since Lethal Weapon 5.
I give The Heat a 4 out 5.
By Richard Pepper