Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Heat: Melissa McCarthy Brings It.

Movie Review: The Heat

Director: Paul Feig

Reviewed: 24 November 2013

jamesintexas rating--**1/2

Melissa McCarthy is a national treasure. She follows up her Academy Award nominated turn in Bridesmaids by reuniting with the same director and transforming into the violent and colorfully curse-spewing Boston Police Detective Mullins who is paired with high-flying, widely disliked F.B.I. Agent Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) as both attempt to solve a case. The plot is merely the frame for hanging McCarthy's unique and brilliant extemporizing of insults and physical comedy, with McCarthy dragging a man out of his car, slamming a suspect down on a fence, and in general, owning the film with her bravura performance. She earned one deep, unstoppable laugh from me that went on for about thirty seconds, and the strength of her character's charming and anarchic ways make this nearly a film that I can recommend.

Working against The Heat is its thoughtless plotting and some seriously unfunny sequences. I think having a scene with Bullock and McCarthy on the dance floor is supposed to be funny but just does not work. And a scene in a Denny's takes a macabre turn for no reason. The bad guys are generic and interchangeable, and the film often has to rely on its soundtrack to tell the story.

The contrast in personalities is fun because McCarthy's character is horrifying to her partner at times while saying things that are impossible not to laugh at. But listening to Sandra Bullock play mousey and weak or fumble over curse words just does not pack the same punch as watching McCarthy bulldoze through her scenes, an artist in obscenity. One character calls her, "Bull in China shop," and I think that is pretty accurate.

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