Vicki Briganti – CW50 Writer / Producer / Editor
Uptight FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is arrogant and competitive. Foul-mouthed, rogue Boston cop Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) refuses to play by the rules. When they join forces to bring down a ruthless drug lord, these incompatible detectives become the last thing anyone expected: friends.
From her Emmy award winning performance on CBS’s “Mike and Molly” to her scene stealing role in “Bridesmaids,” Melissa McCarthy has been gaining notoriety in Hollywood. Trained in stand-up and improv, McCarthy doesn’t miss a chance to spit out line after line of hilarious outtakes. You can almost see Sandra Bullock laughing at her in some of their scenes together.
I went to see “Identity Thief” because I heard McCarthy was funny in it, and I was looking forward to seeing “The Heat” for the same reason. Along with Paul Feig, the same director/executive producer of “Bridesmaids,” she managed to crack me up for two solid hours. At one point, I couldn’t catch my breath. My friend Shelley laughed so hard, she started coughing. It doesn’t hurt that Paul Feig originally hails from Michigan. He’s a 1980 graduate of Chippewa Valley High School in Mt. Clemens.
The movie opens with a funky soundtrack and old school graphics, a clear throwback to action flicks from the ‘70s. Ashburn follows proper protocol with a know-it-all flare, prompting one FBI comrade to sarcastically comment about her, “It’s hard to believe she’s single.” Later, Mullins tells her to lose the pantsuits. “You look like you’re going to set up a table and start doing taxes.”
Rough and tumble Mullins grew up in the neighborhood she now patrols. Her brother gets mixed up with the wrong crowd and she’s determined to watch his back. She’ll go down and dirty to bring her “perps” to justice. We see her flipping over a fence and throwing a watermelon at an escaping drug dealer.
There’s physical comedy: Mullins trying to wiggle out of an open car window. Montage comedy: Mullins and Ashburn doing shots at the bar, dancing, and staying up all night. Touching comedy: Mullins making fun of Ashburn for having a life not interesting enough to keep a cat and a high school yearbook with the comment “It’ll get better.”
Since the dominant theme is to develop the evolving relationship between these two female buddies, you barely notice the other one-dimensional characters. Their roles serve as catalyst for McCarthy to riff on them, or in the case of the dinner scene, to crack jokes about middle-class Boston families and their accents. “Are you a narc?” sounds to Bullock like “Are you a knock?”
The studio must be expecting a blockbuster return at the box office because rumors are already swirling about “The Heat 2.” With Bullock and McCarthy at the helm, it should be just as entertaining. I’m ready to see if these ladies can add love to the mix – although nothing can replace their new sisterly bond.
“The Heat” opens in theatres June 28th. The official website is at The Heat Movie.
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