The Flick Chicks

Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

The Heat | Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demian Bichir, Marlon Wayans | Review

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Jacqueline  Monahan

Las Vegas Round The Clock
Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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The Heat |Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demian Bichir, Marlon Wayans | Review

We already know that the title is slang for law enforcement, but heat can also be caused by friction; ask any Boy Scout. Here, friction is caused by the wildly different styles of FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) and Boston detective Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy). Both team up reluctantly to work on a case to capture a ruthless drug kingpin operating out of Boston.

Uptight, by-the-book Ashburn alienates co-workers with smug arrogance. She’s good at her job but insufferable. Mullins is a maverick, by-any-means-necessary, from-the-‘hood detective with a foul mouth and quick draw. Ashburn is all about the rules; Mullins disregards them at every turn.

Neither woman has ever had a partner, or a meaningful relationship for that matter. Mullins is estranged from her family for locking up her own brother; Ashburn’s most constant companion has been her neighbor’s big red cat.

The two are a dysfunctional dynamic duo, each repelled by the other at first, until repeated exposure on and off the job, including an alcohol-fueled all-nighter bring about a gradual bonding that aids the team in their work (AND personal lives). C’mon, you saw that coming a mile away without binoculars.

Director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) and first-time screenwriter Katie Dippold (MADtv, Parks and Recreation) stay in familiar territory within the buddy-cop genre, content to let the unique talents of their leading ladies veer the vehicle into fresh territory.

For example, Mullins response to a nurse’s request NOT to use a cell phone in a hospital lobby is to pull a gun on the woman and say, “Yeah? How about now?”
The normally tidy, suit-wearing Ashburn is talked into blowing her nose using one finger and lung power. Such off-kilter responses make even predictable outcomes seem like new discoveries.

The many F-bombs dropped by Mullins, her over-the-top policing methods and prolonged boss-baiting demand a suspension of disbelief necessary for the film’s premise to work, but the freedom it allows McCarthy ramps up the outrageousness of character actions and dialogue.

"I've just spent the last 30 minutes thinking of ways to kill you," Mullins tells Ashburn on their first face-to-face encounter.  You know, the usual small talk that occurs with partners.

Bullock is a flawless straight man who is also adept at physical comedy. McCarthy is a full-speed-ahead, ad-libbing force of nature.  The pair’s chemistry is apparent and incendiary, another reason that their adventures resonate with a crude charm.  There is also a generosity between the two actresses who don’t vie for individual laughs as much as assist each other in achieving them.

A talented supporting cast includes Demian Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Jane Curtin, Michael Rappaport, Taran Killam, Tony Hale, Dan Bakkedahl, Michael McDonald, and Kaitlin Olson.

The Heat is flawed, crude, and predictable, but the camaraderie between its leading ladies is arresting in every sense of the word.

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