I feared that we might have seen all the funniest bits of The Heat in its trailer; fortunately, I
was wrong. The preview only offers a glimpse of what both Sandra Bullock and
Melissa McCarthy have to offer in this rowdy, raunchy buddy-cop comedy. They
make a terrific team. (Note to studio: that doesn’t mean I’m dying to see them
reteamed in a sequel. Find something else for these actresses to do, please.)
Katie Dippold’s screenplay offers more plot than one expects to find in this kind of film and enough fuel to propel both halves of its leading odd couple: ultra-square, by-the-book FBI agent Bullock and foul-mouthed, unkempt Boston street cop McCarthy, who are forced to work together on an important case involving a drug lord whose identity is a dark secret. I don’t know how much of the dialogue was improvised, but it has a natural, spontaneous feel that’s right in line with director Paul Feig’s previous work. In the midst of nonstop insults and comebacks, McCarthy creates a character who’s likable and grounded: with the right material, she is a comedy powerhouse who takes no prisoners.
Bullock is essentially the straight man here, but she’s no less skillful in imbuing a potentially farcical role with just enough reality to sustain the story and play off McCarthy’s boisterous antics.
I was among the minority of people who didn’t love Bridesmaids, which I thought had one hour of funny material in a two-hour package. This one also nears the two-hour mark—but I didn’t feel it, because the screenplay kept throwing me curves and never ran out of hilarious dialogue. The Heat is ideal summer movie fare (for grownups).