Director: Paul Feig
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy and Demián Bichir
Review Written By: Michael Dalton (Prime Minister)
The Heat is brought to us by Paul Feig, who directed 2011’s Bridesmaids and shares a lead actress from that film, in the shape of Melissa McCarthy. For this reason The Heat has been heavily marketed as being from the people who brought you Bridesmaids due to the critical and commercial success of that film. In my eyes, The Heat is a far superior film in every aspect to the overrated Bridesmaids, however I doubt it will share the box office or even the Oscar nominations of that film. There is an important gender political point to be made here in the fact that this is one of the few, if only, truly female dominated films of the summer. This is a film in which the women drive the story and where the men are periphery characters in underdeveloped roles. In a summer dominated by superhero movies and blockbusters where female characters are all too commonly diluted to love interests and eye candy, The Heat is a refreshing film indeed. However the fact that it gives women something to do can’t carry a film on its own and thankfully The Heat is commendable in many other arenas.
While Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are both playing characters they’ve played before in films such as Miss Congeniality and Bridesmaids, you do not feel like you are watching something stale or recycled. The two have great chemistry together and forge a believable and entertaining partnership. While at times McCarthy may come on a bit too strong, in the moments when she does the restrained Bullock is always present to counter that energy and create a nice balance. McCarthy gives a performance that is in my eyes far superior to the one that earned her an Oscar nomination in Bridesmaids. What makes McCarthy a superb actress and a true star, is the fact that she can deliver these grand comic moments, yet in the same scene portray palpable and heartbreaking emotion. Towards the film’s conclusion through merely her facial expressions, she provided the film with a beating heart and resonance that helped it transcend many of its flaws and contemporaries. It is a supporting performance that will not get the widespread recognition it deserves due to genre snobbery, however it is doubtful you will find many more supporting female performances this year that are this effective and affecting.
In regards to the supporting cast none are given much to truly work with. Demián Bichir is another Oscar nominee in the film however he is given perhaps the film’s only true straight role and whenever he appeared as Ashburn’s boss, it just felt like we were watching a very bad cop drama as opposed to a comedy. Marlon Wayans however gives a supporting turn that is surprisingly likable and charismatic, with him clearly having much more to him than the Scary Movie films would suggest.
The most important test however for a film like this is, does it make you laugh? And will you still remember some of these jokes days, weeks or months down the line and have them still make you laugh? For me this film answered both of those questions with a yes. I was consistently amused and entertained, with the film never truly succumbing to what most comedy movies do and ditch the laughs in pursuit of some serious drama in between the second and third act. While this isn’t the funniest film I’ve seen in this genre, it did make me laugh out loud multiple times and there are numerous jokes in this film that a week or so after seeing I find myself remembering, quoting and laughing about, and I can see myself doing so for many weeks, months and years to come.
Ultimately The Heat is unoriginal and incredibly predictable. Not all of its jokes stick the landing and some of the more serious supporting players can produce cringes as opposed to laughs. However it is a fast moving, funny and well acted film that has some genuine heart and intelligence.
Movie Parliament Rating: MINORITY GOVERNMENT (What does this mean?)
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