Movie Review: The Heat

Published Monday, July 1, 2013 at 10:00 am

by Bob Garver

July 1, 2013. Normally when I start off a review talking about a trailer, it’s to say how much better the trailer was than the movie. “Why couldn’t such and such have been as exciting as it looked in the trailer?” I’ll ask. I think my review of 2010’s “Machete” was that thought stretched out to 600 words. But with “The Heat”, it’s a different story because I’ve come to loathe the trailer.

For the past six months, I have been subjected to one of the peskiest trailers of my lifetime. I’m not sure how many times I’ve seen it, but it’s surely a double-digit number. I’ve seen it enough times to have it memorized, which means I know exactly where a lot of the jokes are going and I don’t find them funny anymore. I don’t think I liked them in the first place, but the frequency of the annoying trailer has needlessly turned me against the film before I’ve even bought a ticket. And by the way, I know that most readers do not go to the movies every week, but the trailer has been attached to so many films that even people who only go once in a while can say that they’ve had it shoved down their throats. 

The film is a formulaic buddy-cop movie with a professional, straight-laced FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) reluctantly teaming up with a sloppy Boston beat cop (Melissa McCarthy) to take down a drug lord. They don’t like each other, which they attribute to the detestable qualities in the other, though it really has more to do with both of them having poor social skills. 

Supposedly the Bullock character is good at solving cases and McCarthy is better at talking tough and fighting. We imagine that they can learn a lot from each other. But the lessons are lopsided; McCarthy schools Bullock at every turn. Far too many scenes see Bullock insist she can do something and fail, followed by McCarthy butting in, doing things her way, and getting results. I know the idea is that Bullock needs a lesson in humility, but it gets to the point where the premise of her being a competent agent becomes hard to accept.

The film’s humor is largely thrown to McCarthy, whose performance consists of constant swearing and other vulgarities. She gets in a few good lines – which is why I’m giving the film a star and a half instead of just one- but a little of her goes a long way. “Bridesmaids,” (whose director, Paul Feig, also directed this film) had the good sense to make her one of a group of six instead of insisting she basically carry the film.

The action in “The Heat” is about what you’d expect from a generic action comedy. The humor is usually crude and mostly ineffective, not to mention that much of it has been spoiled by the trailer. Speaking of the trailer, now that the movie has opened I guess I won’t be seeing it run before first-run movies anymore. That thought in my head is even more of a relief than the end of the movie in the theater. 

One and a half stars out of five. 

NOTE: I also saw the hostage thriller “White House Down” this past weekend, but it didn’t do well enough to warrant its own review. I actually liked it; it was dumb but a lot of fun-one of the better “Die Hard” knockoffs I’ve seen in a while. Two and a half stars out of five.

“The Heat” is rated R for pervasive language, strong crude content and some violence. Its running time is 117 minutes. 

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