Friday, 7 March 2014

The Heat

Paul Feig (Director) and Melissa McCarthy reunite once more after their spectacular laugh-riot Bridesmaids, with the backup of Sandra Bullock in a movie formerly titled ‘Untitled Female Buddy Cop Movie’. The Heat swaps gooey love stories, like the ones, we see in Bridesmaids for a grittier approach, earning itself a higher age rating in the process.

In modern cinema, originality is usually what makes a film successful, and The Heat is certainly original. Battling stereotypes and teaming up two female leads in a cop movie is rare. The comedy therefore is a relatively open-field waiting to be ploughed. However, rarely does a unique joke crop up, instead we’re subjected to aggressive insults and unoriginal, tame slapstick. For a comedy-action film, there is little in the way of comedy. So does the action will redeem it and bring some entertainment? Nope.

When the action is present it’s never a serious Gung Ho attitude, but rather a lacklustre battle of words that our two leads usually lose, and fast. When action rears its strived-for head, it bobs back down with a little smirk on its face, as if teasing us toward a huge final battle. Alas, it never comes. Instead we get a finale that is over before we even realise it has begun. This is apparent throughout. Every action scene is over just as it begins. It’s the opposite problems for the comedy as they shoot themselves in the foot by dragging out and flogging a dead, jokey horse.

Near the beginning of the film we are given an insight to McCarthy’s way of doing things. We are shown her arresting a man for purchasing a prostitute, who she aggressively throws into her car. There was a lot of potential for a few laughs in that scene and it started out strong, her being mistaken as a drug-dealer one of them, but when she calls the offender’s wife it just seemed… unethical. Sure, it revealed her character subtly, but realistically it seems implausible. If our police force did that in our world today, there’d be uproar.

The main problem I find with this movie, is not the lack of action, the anti-climaxes or the drawn-out comedy, it’s the story and casting itself. The film works up to a huge plot-twist that is supposed to have our jaws falling rapidly into our popcorn bowls. However, it fails to do so. The twist (without giving too much away) refers to the identity of the main villain who is always alluded to. We never assume it’s an insider so we’re never on the lookout for who it might be; instead we have this twist thrust upon us. We, as filmgoers, love the thrill of the hunt, trying to figure out ‘whodunnit’ but we are denied that.

Then the casting - Bullock’s humorous lines came out as wooden and forced. She has never really shone in comedy films. The Proposal wasn’t too bad, but the less said about All About Steve the better. What’s even more baffling is that this film came out around the same time as Gravity. How can an actress justify performing in a ‘Buddy Cop Movie’ whilst also leading in one of the greatest drama-sci-fi films of the last ten years?

On the contrary to that casting, McCarthy shines as yet another overweight, female with a vulgar potty-mouth. While an uninspiring casting choice, the character is written well to suit her. The writing does however fail to bring out the comedy that she could produce. Most jokes that originate with her are just ‘Haha I’m overweight’ or ‘Haha I just said a swear’. It’s like we’re being force-fed “jokes” through a tube in a stupor, waiting for the film to end.

In a year that saw countless comedy films make it to the big screen, it was refreshing to see something a bit different come along in The Heat. Unfortunately it fails to succeed as both a comedy and an action film, leaving much to be desired for the sequel due out in the next couple of years.

Not as hot as it promised to be The Heat lacks in action and comedy and gets a 2/5[]

Jonny Naylor

The Heat at CeX

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