Reviewed by: Spencer Schumacher
|Featuring:||Melissa McCarthy … Det. Shannon Mullins
Sandra Bullock … Special Agent Sarah Ashburn
Marlon Wayans … Levy
Demián Bichir … Hale
Michael Rapaport … Jason Mullins
Taran Killam … Adam
Tom Wilson … Captain Frank Woods
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|Producer:||Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
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|Distributor:||Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation|
“Lethal Weapon on estrogen,” is a bit simplistic, but in many ways it does get to the heart of “The Heat,” the new buddy-cop flick where the dudes are dames.
“The Heat” pairs up FBI special agent Sarah Ashburn (Bullock) and Sharon Mullins (McCarthy). Ashburn is the prototypical “by the book”, “close to the vest”, “uptight” agent who becomes partnered with the “rogue”, “foul-mouthed”, “throw-the-book at the perp” Mullins (McCarthy). When they cross paths over a common case, it is suggested that they work together, a partnership that neither officer is all that enthusiastic about.
The two are on the trail of a high-end drug lord who is wreaking havoc over the streets of Boston. As they climb further up the drug lord’s chain of command it becomes apparent that by working together and utilizing each other’s strengths they have a better chance at catching the “bad guys.”
Yes, I could fill the page with the countless examples of “buddy movies” and “buddy-cop” films that have used this tried and true plot formula and still leave a few off for another page. However, it isn’t for an intrinsic plot and thought provoking character studies that most audience go to see this particular sub-genre of action movies.
The film follows in the same path of the Lethal Weapon and Beverly Hills Cop franchises. The main distinction between this addition to the genre and those two seminal works is the two cops are played by Bullock and McCarthy, their pairing is the strongest aspect of what would be a very mediocre movie without their inclusion.
The verbal repartee between Bullock and McCarthy is very fresh and can contend with the best in the genre. McCarthy is very good in her role as the unorthodox Boston police officer and Bullock is very comfortable in the shoes of a straight-edge FBI agent. The scenes between the two of them are where the movie succeeds while the scenes surrounding their on-going bickering and banter are pretty much standard genre fare.
Anyone considering taking the family out to a family matinée at the local theater should be advised of the mature content of the film. It is rated “R” for pervasive language, strong crude content and a few violent scenes. The objectionable material is another way in which this film does not deviate far from its predecessors. If you look at “Lethal Weapon” (a movie that many consider the “gold standard” to this genre) as a guide then you do get a taste of what you’re in for.
Starting with the least objectionable first (in terms of quantity). There is the usual amount of explosive, gun-fire violence associated with these types of films. However, there are a couple scenes that audiences should be aware of. In one scene a character is shot in the head and we see brain splatter from the gunshot. A second, and probably the most in terms of violent content, involves a member of the criminal team and and his inclination towards using knives as torture instruments. The scene is some-what graphic, and there are multiple knife punctures.
The material that viewers will find most objectionable is the persistent profanity throughout the film, particularly (and some might argue, at least for the first hour and a half of the film, solely) when McCarthy is on screen. To say that the film is “profanity-laced” is to say “Scarface” (the Pacino version) has a few minor scenes of violence. McCarthy’s Mullins spits profanity as if she is being paid by the syllable. The f-bomb count is about 158 utterances, I would submit she used up about ½ of those in her first scene. There is also the usual scattering of other profane or semi-profane words. The “g-d” term is another favorite of Mullins that she usually interjects when she has to pepper up a rant a little or gets bored with the multiple f-bombs she has used in the preceding sentence. In addition there are a handful of anatomical and scatological references.
Bullock and McCarthy are both very talented and their verbal jousting takes the film to a level above most others of this genre. There are moments in “The Heat” that are legitimately funny. However, if you are thinking this is just another comedic, energetic buddy-cop film with “chicks” consider the predecessors of which it emulates. Both Lethal Weapon and Beverly Hills Cop earned R ratings for similar material that garnered The Heat its R.
“The Heat” is rated R and runs 117 minutes.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.