Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock hang Spoken Reasons out to dry
“The Heat” is Hilarious in an R-Rated Fashion
By Skip Sheffield
“Cagney and Lacey” was never like this.
Sure, “The Heat’ has two mismatched female buddy cops like the popular 1981-1988 TV series, but Cagney and Lacey never talked or misbehaved so outrageously as this crude contemporary comedy by director Paul Feig and screenwriter Katie Dippold.
Paul Feig established his reputation with the raunchy R-rated comedies “Knocked Up” and “Bridesmaids,” which launched the career of plus-sized actress Melissa McCarthy.
“The Heat” ups the raunch factor because it stars Melissa McCarthy as slovenly, rude, foul-mouthed
cop Shannon Mullins, paired with prim, arrogant and proper FBI agent Sarah Ashburn,
played by top-billed Sandra Bullock.
Bullock has been down this road before as the icy beauty queen of “Miss Congeniality,” but under Feig’s direction she really lets loose by trampling on her goody two-shoes screen image.
Feig lets us know from the outset this will not be a serious cop caper, with an opening montage of images reminiscent of 1970s and 1980s cop shows.
Bullock’s character is established first as an insufferable, tightly-wound, know-it-all FBI agent in New York City who can’t understand why she is not a shoo-in for a promotion when one of her superiors leaves.
“I don’t know if you are the right person for the job,” suggests her boss, Hale (Mexican actor Demian Bichir) tactfully.
Hale offers a test. There is a ruthless drug lord wreaking havoc in
If Ashburn can bring him down, the gig is hers. Easier said than done.
In order to get closer to the street, Ashburn is paired with Shannon Mullins, a feisty Irish cop who knows the mean streets of
South Boston only too well.
Officer Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) drives a rusty, battered 1960s AMC sedan and she drives it like Dale Earnhardt, junior and senior.
McCarthy is a brilliant and fearless physical comedian who uses her bulky body to best advantage. She is also proud and unapologetic as Officer Mullins, and so by-the-book she put away her own brother Jason (Michael Rappaport) when he got mixed up with drugs.
“The Heat” is very predictable. Of course Ashburn and Mullins have hate at first sight. Of course over a series of misadventures and close-calls they will begin to bond as sisters-in-arms. And naturally there will be a bar scene where they both get embarrassingly drunk.
Yes, the plot is a big bag of hooey with a last-minute reveal of the unexpected real bad guy. What makes it so enjoyable is the perfect casting of Bullock and McCarthy as polar opposites who don’t seem to be acting at all. Unexpected pleasures include Marlon Wayans as a handsome FBI guy with an eye for Bullock; Florida-born comedian Spoken Reasons as a jive-talking punk; Dan Bakkedahl as a screwy albino DEA agent with a big grudge, and a large and unruly gang who play Mullins’ family and friends, headed by Jane Curtin as the matriarch. My how she has aged since “Saturday Night Live,” but haven’t we all?
If you just want to laugh and you don’t mind crude humor, “The Heat” may just be your bag of hooey- and it is all done without CG special effects.