It’s 2013 and certainly not a great time for 80’s buddy cop comedy clichés. The reason why movies like Hot Fuzz and last year’s hilarious 21 Jump Street worked is that those films made fun of the buddy cop clichés. The Heat, rather than breaking new ground or parodying the genre, simply embraces all the clichés.
The Heat is a disappointment from Paul Feig who made the excellent Bridesmaids two years ago. It lacks the non sequitur gags of that film and is content to just hurl expletives from an overweight, obnoxious female character as entertainment. The film puts together two cops, a ‘hot’ uptight prim and proper Sandra Bullock and Melisa McCarthy as the aforementioned obese cantankerous creature, and uses their utter dissimilarity to extract jokes – hardly an Earth shattering plot device. The majority of the film deals with McCarthy’s gigantic (personality) clashing with Bullock’s literally and figuratively skinny one as they try to crack down on a drug dealer.
Now the problem here isn't the usage of loud, foul language and scrappy appearance from a woman, nor is it the filmmakers’ choice of lazy storytelling by depending on those factors to extract laughs. The problem is the loudness, the language and the appearance don’t make for anything substantially comedic, because the plot is hackneyed. The reason why rotund comedians like Seth Rogen and Jack Black are hilarious and successful is that their F bombs, politically incorrect takedowns and potty humor are used in good scripts with fun plots. Putting Melissa McCarthy in a movie with a terrible script is a scandalous waste of a great comedienne and writer director Paul Feig clearly deserves the blame. While Feig made McCarthy’s character endearing and likable in Bridesmaids, the one in this film is at times chortle worthy but most times borderline unbearable, because the character tries to overcompensate for the lack of a good script.
At the other end is Bullock who at 48 looks terrific but is a bizarre mixture of her characters from Miss Congeniality and The Proposal, both of which were unpleasant to say the least. Bullock and McCarthy indulge in nonstop back and forth but the results are at best lukewarm, again due to the terrible plot. This may be recommended to some as a harmless chick flick, but chick flicks don’t need to be unintelligent and inane – just ask the people who saw Easy A and Pitch Perfect.
(First published in MiD Day)