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.