‘The Heat’ review: a solid box office and a solid female-driven comedy

The final weekend box office numbers haven’t come out yet, but the early numbers suggest that Channing Tatum might have his first “flop” in years. White House Down is underperforming while The Heat and Monsters are both on target to make more than $40 million each. Monsters will likely win the box office, I’m assuming. But the real surprise is The Heat, which analysts really didn’t know what to do with. It’s so rare to have an action-comedy film starring two women opening in the summer, analysts didn’t know what to predict, so they low-balled it and now the film is exceeding expectations. Which means three things: one, Sandra Bullock really is America’s Sweetheart and moviegoers still love to support her films; two, Melissa McCarthy is a bona fide movie star; and three, SEQUEL! Here’s my review for The Heat:

SPOILERS – possible SPOILERS for The Heat.

I went to see The Heat yesterday! I enjoyed it. I think your perception of whether or not it’s a good film depends on what kind of scale you’re using. It’s a better, funnier comedy than most of the insipid, gross-out comedies made these days, but that’s setting a really low bar. Like, one of my favorite films of all time is Beverly Hills Cop – go back and watch that movie and notice how the film works on every level. It works as a cop movie. It works as a drama. It works as a comedy. If the scale is [horrible comedy] to Beverly Hills Cop, The Heat is better than average but still a way’s to go before it reaches the “classic” status of a film like Beverly Hills Cop. It’s more like a funnier, dirtier version of Feds. Do you remember that one? I love Feds.

What The Heat has going for it is two charismatic, talented, funny women who are both giving wonderful comedic performances. Sandra plays the “straight woman” – the uptight, hyper-focused FBI agent. Melissa plays the wild-and-crazy one, the kamikaze Boston cop with an absolutely filthy mouth and many, many loaded guns. Which isn’t to say Sandra doesn’t have her funny moments. Sometimes her reaction shots to Melissa’s craziness were the funniest things in the movie, and Sandra is always good for physical comedy and pratfalls.

Several things pleased me immensely. One, this is R-rated and it’s mostly because of language. They didn’t pull any punches with the language at all. It’s absolutely filthy, even delightfully so. There was some violence (mostly people getting shot), but I suspect that they could have shot those people and still managed to get a PG-13 rating if not for Melissa’s profane and hilarious F-bomb-laden riffs. I also liked that it felt like everything was about supporting Melissa’s improvisational riffs, which were often absurd, hilarious and comedic gold. I also loved that there weren’t very many “fat jokes” nor was Melissa’s weight ever really discussed in the film.

Another thing that pleased me: the supporting cast was FULL of comedic talent, from Marlon Wayans to Jane Curtin to Michael McDonald to Tony Hale. Demian Bichir was also in there and my God, that man is handsome. I have no idea how he got cast as an FBI chief, but I suspect that Sandra had seen him and she thought, “I want to work with that guy!” He speaks with his accent throughout the film, and Melissa’s character refers to him as “Puss ‘N Boots”. Love it.

Of course there were some weak moments and while they tried to keep up the momentum of the crime story, at various points the audience is expected to simply forget about why these two characters were put together in the first place. That being said, it was so refreshing to see two strong comediennes in one film together. They are both the leads and they both owned their roles. I think this is a better film (and a better comedy) than Bridesmaids and it’s better than most of Judd Apatow’s films. I would definitely recommend it – don’t go into it thinking you’re going to see the best comedy ever made, and you’ll end up enjoying it more than you expect.

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.

 

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53 Responses to “‘The Heat’ review: a solid box office and a solid female-driven comedy”

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  1. emmaV1 says:

    I’m so glad!! Hopefully more women get these types of roles in the future as compared to the Katherine Heigl/Jennifer Aniston/Reese Witherspoon same old love interest role.

    That said I don’t think the heat will be super successful……these movies make like 30 percent of their total worldwide gross the first weekend,

    Identity Thief, also an R rated comedy, starring McCarthy opened to 35 million and finished at 170 million for a very respectable run but not amazing like The Hangover.

    As for Tatum, he’s had some okay hits but the rest of his movies didnt depend on him as a star like GI Joe or Magic Mike.

  2. pfeiffer87 says:

    I also think it helps that Sandra Bullock has taken some time off & has not oversaturated the film industry with her films – unlike Tatum.

  3. Feebee says:

    Your review is pretty much spot on. It was funny enough to let the world know that female lead comedy can stand up to male lead comedy in the R rated zone.

    Love that I have heard someone else praise Beverly Hills Cop for the true gem it is.

  4. fingerbinger says:

    Good for Sandra and Melissa. Honestly, when I see trailers for the movie it doen’t look very funny. Congrats to them.

  5. RedWeatherTiger says:

    I saw it, and I agree that it is funnier than Bridesmaids, which I thought was way overrated. Sandra and Melissa work together really well, and there were some actual laugh-until-my-eyes-watered moments. I didn’t have high hopes because everyone was knocking this movie before it even came out, but I was so pleasantly surprised.

    Plus, there is a huge beautiful cat and several gorgeous dogs in the film, including a Dane, and I love that, too.

    Was Feds the one with Rebecca DeMornay and the mousy brunette actress whose name escapes me as roommates in FBI Training School (or whatever)? That one WAS a riot. I had forgotten about it until just now.

  6. AmyLynne says:

    I absolutely loved it. I saw it last night with Girl Friend and Guy Friend. It was interesting because I was surprised Guy Friend wanted to see it, but I found that he didn’t laugh nearly as much as myself and Girl Friend did. Boyfriend surprisingly wants to see it too and I’d totally see it again.

  7. blannie says:

    I wanted to LOVE the Heat since I enjoy both Melissa and Sandra. As someone who curses a lot myself, I actually found the overuse of the f-bomb distracting and annoying. I would have enjoyed it more if Melissa dropped half of those.

    I did enjoy the movie and there were a few good belly laughs – where they use tape on their faces in the bar comes to mind. It was fun seeing so many familiar faces in the cast. I love that her husband is in most things she does (he’s a rejected suitor in the bar in this one). I would give it a 7 out of 10. And I think it will be very successful.

  8. Emma says:

    Unrelated, but in some photos (if I squint) it’s like seeing Lorelai and Sookie.

  9. guilty pleasures says:

    Went to see it the other night with a bunch of gals, we loved it!! So freaking funny, sometimes you miss some of the lines because people are laughing so loud!!
    Both of the stars are hilarious, lovable, obviously really like each other, can’t wait for the sequel!!!
    Go see it- support women in star roles!

  10. nicegirl says:

    don’t you know, talking about a revolution it sounds – like a female led COMEDY?

    awesome!

    I can hear the sound of the glass ceiling cracking right now . . . can you?

    Thank you ladies!

  11. bettyrose says:

    Hmmm . .. I almost never go to movies any more – preferring to purchase them on demand and have an inexpensive night in with the BF and furbabies – but based on this review I might slip away one morning during the upcoming holiday weekend for a matinee of this. I do want to support it.

  12. Alexandria says:

    I’m not surprised White House Down didnt do that well. Most people I talked to we’re not interested in seeing it because they’re “sick of all the devastation movies that have to do with our nation falling”. Plus, it was too similar to Gerard Butler’s film, Olympus Has Fallen, which didnt come out too long along. I always wonder why studios do that, produce two films that are so alike within months of each other….especially when there are so many scripts that don’t get made into in movies.

  13. Chloe says:

    One of the few hits of the season. No too many other reasons to go out to the movies. Love the article.

  14. Amanda G says:

    I’m glad Channing will have a flop under his belt. He is very overrated.

    So happy The Heat was successful! I love Sandra and Melissa and this looks really funny!

    • pwal says:

      I have no idea if Channing is overrated or not, since I haven’t seen any of his movie, save a cameo in This is the End, but the dude is overexposed. Much like Sofia Vergara was last year, when her Pepsi and Kmart commercials were all over the tube and she was at damn near every award show/red carpet. Tatum’s Magic Mike, People’s SMA title, his appearance/dance at the Oscars, getting papped with Clooney, the Channing my Tatum skit on Kimmel… it’s a bit too much.

      I’m kinda ashamed that I didn’t contribute to this weekend’s box office, especially since I’m all about women reclaiming their place/importance on the movie screen; however, the trailers didn’t look that good. However, judging from some of the comments, maybe the studios did what they’re supposed to do and not put all the good bits in the trailers.

    • Camille (TheOriginal) says:

      @Amanda G: Completely agree with you. He’s VERY over rated and also over exposed as well.

  15. Blondie says:

    We went to see it Friday night. The theater was packed. We all loved it, we laughed from beginning to end. Great movie.

  16. Andrea says:

    I miss Sandra Bullock’s humility and easy charm so I will absolutely go see this film.

  17. Dommy Dearest says:

    I can’t wait to see it!

  18. Paloma says:

    The snippets they show on TV aren’t even funny.

  19. Ann says:

    Saw it and LOVED it! Bullock and McCarthy were fabulous. Nice break from the eternal sausage fest movies (which I’m not paying to see anymore). Glad it’s doing so well at the box office.

  20. paranormalgirl says:

    I had NO expectations whatsoever, ducked into a cool theater on a humid night, and freaking LOVED this film!

  21. Sumodo1 says:

    I went with my best friend, and we laughed ourselves silly! We both picked up some new foul expressions–and I have a feeling I will be sneaking out of “Despicable Me 2″ and leaving the kids (13 and 15) at some point–to see parts of “The Heat” again.

  22. Ruyana says:

    I just came back from seeing The Heat. It was great! Many, many belly laughs from the audience. I found the movie to be hysterically funny.

  23. apsutter says:

    I’m so glad this is doing well. As Pajiba pointed out this movie is the ONLY MOVIE TO HAVE JUST WOMEN AS THE LEADS THIS SUMMER!! That is f*cking ridiculous. And movie executives wonder why everyone wants to watch television! Maybe because all of the dynamic and interesting roles for women are only found on the small screen.

  24. Sally Archer says:

    Best laugh-out-loud movie starring two women for the female market ever, because that genre is almost non-existent, for one thing, but also even if it weren’t, this is definitely worth seeing. McCarthy’s character taking on her insipid boss’s supposed manhood by verbal diatribe to the whole office is priceless. (Not that any real women could do that and keep their jobs. It’s a movie after all, and an especially funny one for the sense of wish fulfillment the big screen gives us that real life cannot.) Give me the hefty McCarthy’s rapid-fire mouth any day over the overblown, blowhard Robert Downey, Jr. And Bullock as usual excellently masters her material and delivers pathos as subtext to comedy, as women in general understand all too well from living lives with too many moments of having to laugh to keep from crying.

    If you’re a woman, and like multi-plex fare at all, you’ll enjoy this movie. If you have male friends or male significant other(s), take them or him. Their reaction to the buddy humor and deepening connection of two on-screen women might be a measure of whether or not you should take them seriously in your life.

  25. Jayna says:

    Did anyone see the other movie Melissa was in with one of my fav rom-com guys, Jason Bateman? Is it any good? We were thinking of renting it.

  26. NEENAZEE says:

    I see, interact and work with heavy people all the time. I saw two people that were both bigger than Melissa McCarthy at the mall yesterday. There was someone at least 100 pounds overweight at a BBQ I went to this afternoon. Why is her weight such a big deal? Is it because we don’t want her to be famous? or a role model? Give me a break… obesity is an ongoing problem in America and being fat is part of the landscape. She deserves a career as much as anyone else, no matter what they weigh.

  27. phlyfiremama says:

    My girlfriends and I loved it!! It had some seriously hilarious moments in it~ loved Pumpkin the cat, and loved that this movie wasn’t about getting married or finding a boyfriend or being “saved” by a man at the last minute. GO SEE THIS MOVIE!!! Support strong female lead characters, if for no other reason~so that more movies making women equal and not subservient or somehow inferior are made, and not just these insipid brainless rom-com BS movies we have been fed for far too long. Don’t expect an Oscar caliber film, just go with an open mind to enjoy some good dirty fun. It IS funny!!!

  28. Michelle says:

    I really wanted to see this movie and I ended up going with a few girlfriends. Perfect movie for that. I go to the movies quite a bit (and watch all types of movies)and it was great to see Sandra Bullock teamed up with meliisa McCarthy. They had great chemistry together. I agree with some of the other comments in that it had way too many f-bombs. I cuss like a sailor, but there were just more than what was needed to make it funny.

  29. StormsMama says:

    Sandra Bullock is NO JOKE. She is A BOSS.

    LOVE HER.

    Melissa is wonderful and I am so happy for her success.

    Yay!!!!!
    !!!!!!!!!

  30. Sunnyjyl says:

    My husband and I saw it tonight. We had a great time. Everyone in the theater was laughing throughout.

  31. missiecoco says:

    solid at the botox office too

  32. Arnold says:

    Other critics are saying that the movie is not very good, but Bullock is good in the less-funny role, and McCarthy is very very good. Which makes me want to go.