Big question. Is The Heat a good movie and really funny, or am I just in love with Melissa McCarthy? She is not only funny, but McCarthy also lights up a screen and is one of the best scene stealers in the business.
McCarthy teams with cute and perky Sandra Bullock. They're cops out to bust a drug kingpin. Bullock's Sarah Ashburn is a no-nonsense ladder climber in the FBI. She's sent to Boston to help with an investigation and connects with McCarthy's unkempt, all-business and angry Detective Shannon Mullins.
It's a mismatch made for movies.
Mullins' unconventional style clashes with by-the-book-Ashburn. Enemies become frenemies, and later best buds as both recognize the strengths of one overcome the weaknesses of the other and vice versa.
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The Heat is directed by Paul Feig, who made McCarthy a star in Bridesmaids. Though this flick is the basic buddy cop formula, Feig is a decent storyteller helped by a decent screenplay from TV's Parks and Recreation producer/writer Katie Dippold. Both are held up by the excellent chemistry between the two stars.
The laughs come in fits and starts. When the two get going, the banter between Bullock and McCarthy is really good. Then, with a plot that really has nowhere to go, things slow down, some drama is introduced and The Heat drags and generates very little heat.
Bullock specializes in cute and klutzy. Anymore, she's more bland than bright, but Bullock does have exceptional comedic timing and has become good at delivering straight lines. They play perfectly with McCarthy's brash, sometimes crude but always timely comebacks.
Most comedy-centered actors and actresses don't have the ability to also make you cry. McCarthy can. She has you howling in one scene and wanting to give her a big hug and a hanky the next.
That sends me back to the opening question. Is this movie really that funny, or is McCarthy so good that it doesn't matter?
Director: Paul Feig
Stars: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Marlon Wayans, Jane Curtin, Michael Rapaport
Mr. Movie rating: 3 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes, some violence. It is playing at the Carmike 12, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.