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DVD review: 'The Heat'

comedy, buddy cop, action, Paul Feig, Allentown


Every so often a comedian or comedienne comes along that Hollywood pushes very aggressively. Sometimes, the public accepts this offer. Other times, it is rejected, swiftly and harshly.

'The Heat'
'The Heat'

This is Melissa McCarthy's time to be thrust upon us, first via 'Mike and Molly' then in the form of movies like 'Bridesmaids' and 'Identity Thief'.

Reuniting with director Paul Feig, let's explore 'The Heat.'

Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is an effective, but unpopular agent. She is aiming for a big promotion, but first, she must go to Boston to prove herself to the chief. In Boston, she meets up with Officer Shannon Mullins (McCarthy) who is a very rough, unconventional police officer. They are forced to work together to take a down a huge crime syndicate. Needless to say, this isn't a smooth partnership.

The film starts a bit slowly as the leads are established in great detail and with great care that they are a by-the-books cop and a loose cannon, respectively. After we get past the long introductions and the plot really begins to move forward, things pick up speed and get funnier.

While the character interaction is funny, most of the humor resides in particular scenes, whether they are action set pieces, a dangling interrogation that was spoiled in the trailer, a startlingly enjoyable choking scene in a diner, or a moment that involves a knife and a'll see.

There is a climactic moment late in the film where one character reveals their true intentions in a very clumsy way. That is the precursor to what should be a massive chase scene or gigantic action set piece. Instead, we get resolution in a less exciting, but still mostly satisfying way.

As much personality as the leads have, they are dealing with cinematic archetypes that have been done to death. Of course it's funny to pair mismatched characters and the good cop/bad cop dynamic is a genre unto itself, but things are just played so safely with that. Mullins is as crude and unrefined as almost humanly possible while Ashburn is uptight to the nth degree. Both are rather one-dimensional.

Special features include: a brief welcome to the features, a look at the stunts/alternative takes, something called an 'Acting Master Class' which is just an extended scene where McCarthy and Bullock have their noses taped up, an unnecessary outro, and commentary for the film. Overall, a mixed bag, but some fun stuff in there.

In a lot of ways, 'The Heat' is a very predictable comedy that isn't going to surprise you in how it plays out. Movies like 'Lethal Weapon' and 'Beverly Hills Cop' have done all of this before.

On the other hand, it has some very funny moments tucked in there and the characters are likeable enough to warrant
a sequel which wouldn't be entirely unexpected or unwelcome.

This is more of a rental.

Rated R 117 minutes 2013

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