Title: The Heat
HTS Overall Score:80
The Heat finds director Paul Feig reunited with his witty and often hilarious Bridesmaids’ star Mellisa McCarthy. This time, however, the duo is pushing McCarthy’s humor onto the streets of Boston in a buddy-cop movie that features the unlikely pairing of McCarthy with the uniquely diverse Sandra Bullock. We’ve seen this kind of fire-and-ice cop-duo movie played-out with tremendous success in recent decades. Hollywood hit pay dirt with Danny Glover and Mel Gibson joining forces as an oddball cop team in the long running Lethal Weapon series. It hit it again with the straight-laced Jackie Chan pairing with comedian Chris Tucker in the cop-comedy Rush Hour trilogy. It’s hard to argue about the success and appeal factor both of those franchises brought to the silver screen. So why not try it again? And what better way to spice things up than by adding some estrogen to the mix with two of Hollywood’s more recognizable female stars?
The buddy-cop storyline is typically predicated on the interplay of two characters with traits that clash but also strangely intertwine to create some sort of harmony or unforeseen fondness. The Heat appropriately addresses this requirement with FBI Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) and Boston street cop Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy). The storyline also needs a disapproving authority structure, which The Heat also delivers in the form of Captain Woods, Boston PD (Tom Wilson) and Agent Hale, FBI (Damian Bichir). And, of course, it needs a cadre of evil. The Heat has that nailed down in stereo with the dual headed crime beast of the body chopping Julian (Michael McDonald) and a kingppin mastermind named Larkin (spoiler, left unidentified).
Agent Ashburn is an interpersonal nightmare. She’s stiff, sarcastic, arrogant, competitive, and does things by the book. Her colleagues hate her. Not just a dislike...ohhh-no...there’s a true disdain for her snarky presence. Ashburn’s private life is dull and lonely, so dull that her evenings are spent with her neighbor’s cat. Despite all of her social shortcomings, Ashburn is a good Agent and has experienced success during her tenure at the agency. Her boss at the New York FBI field office, Hale, is being promoted and Ashburn wants his job. He doesn’t want to promote her but tells her she would be considered for the position if she’s able solve the case of a drug lord in Boston named Larkin. Ashburn, seeing the promotion as hers to refuse, jumps at the opportunity and rushes off to Boston.
This is where we are introduced to Officer Shannon Mullins. Mullins is absolutely obnoxious. She’s unorthodox, pushy, rude, crude, and condescending. She does everything BUT follow the book. Her colleagues not only dislike her, they flat-out fear her and quake at the thought of crossing her path. Captain Woods, her superior, has zero control over Mullins and is essentially her personal punching bag.
Mullins and Ashburn are abruptly introduced at a Boston police station and the clash of personalities and style are immediate and ridiculously fun. It’s book-smarts versus street smarts...by the book versus throwing the booking. Unfortunately for Ashburn, Mullins is on the case of a small time dealer that has ties to Larkin and it doesn’t take long for Ashburn to realize that Mullins is in her way (and a handful to boot). She balks at the idea of teaming with Mullins and calls her boss who promptly tells that she’d better work-it-out with Mullins, or else! Thus, their partnership is forged, for better or for worse.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Melissa McCarthy’s character is eerily reminiscent of Megan in Bridesmaids (abrasive, bizarre lifestyle, brutally honest...an in-your-face personality). One liners are constantly flying from her mouth, many of which reveal her character’s bizarre yet shameless habits and beliefs. As one liners go, if you fire off enough one is bound to stick every once and a while...and that’s largely how the jokes go. Many are mildly funny or induce a chuckle, but only a handful are truly worthy of a belly laugh. McCarthy also delivers several moments of amusing physical humor, whether it be related to her own body or slapstick. Bullock compliments McCarthy well. Her straight-laced delivery helps to make McCarthy appear wacky and larger than life. The combo does a good job and their chemistry is enjoyable. Unfortunately they fall just a tad short of the aforementioned performances of Glover/Gibson and Chan/Tucker – there’s just something missing (perhaps originality?).
The Heat ends-up being rather predictable with its formulaic plot that leads Ashburn and Mullins through chaos as they bicker and ultimately bond. It’s one of those movies that is best described as “having moments.” The movie is very much made as a vehicle for situational and slapstick comedy, so there are stretches of dead space that are rather blah. Feig forces the issue by having Mullins’ banter push the envelop with vulgarities and obscenities. One pleasant twist is that The Heat contains a surprise ending; audiences are given a jolt just when it seems the storyline has wrapped-up. The film is far from great, but it’s not that bad either. It very much has the feeling of a midmorning flick you might watch on TBS on a lazy Saturday. It’s enjoyable enough for a few chuckles, just don’t expect to be floored.
R for pervasive language, strong crude content and some violence.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news/TH3.jpg[/img]The Heat is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio courtesy of a solid Hi-Def MPEG-4 AVC transfer by 20th Century Fox. We’ve become absolutely spoiled with several stellar transfers over the past year, and The Heat doesn’t quite live-up to the best of the best. The image has a color element that is slightly off from neutral, leaning toward yellows and tans. This leads the image to have what is best described as a “polluted” feel at times; it’s subtle, though, and doesn’t dominate the presentation. Flesh tones are generally acceptable, but edge toward an orangish appearance on a few occasions. Blacks are average with excellent shadow detail and nary a hint of crush. Fine details throughout the film are evident but fall short of excellent. Close-up shots have loads of detail while wide shots have a softer appearance and aren’t particularly sharp.
I can’t say that I was particularly moved by The Heat’s visual presentation. It really falls into that grey area of “not bad – not great.” Luckily the presentation lacks issues such as noise, blocking, or other nasty annoyances, and has a cinematic feel that oozes warmth.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/news//TH4.jpg[/img]Similar to the film’s video rating, The Heat’s DTS MA 5.1 sound mix is nothing spectacular. It’s important to remember that The Heat is dialog driven and the film scores high marks for dialog that is crisp and intelligible from beginning to end. The rest of the presentation is a mixed bag. The movie relies heavily on the center channel to a detriment. I noted on several occasions that some sound effects (such as a passing car) emanated only from the center channel, missing an opportunity to give a narrow sound stage width and life. At other times, sound effects (again, using a passing car as an example) are presented using the left and right channels with appropriate directionality leading to a pleasing result. The rear channels are used rather sparingly, pumping out the occasional directional sound (such as a honking horn) or contributing to the original score/soundtrack. The audio presentation’s brightest moments are paired with music (be it tied to the original score or music heard by the characters in settings like bars); these moments are loaded with dynamic pop and lead to a wonderfully open soundstage. There are also several explosions during the film that give the sub channel something to talk about, but not much.
• Unrated Cut of the Film
• Welcome to the Bonus Features
• Mullins Family Fun
• Acting Master Class
• Let's Get Physical
• Police Brutality
• Von Bloopers
• Supporting Cast Cavalcade
• Over and Out
• All the Stuff We Had to Take Out but Still Think is Funny
• How The Heat was Made
• Live Extras
• Commentary Tracks
• Attend the June 23, 2013 Premier of The Heat
• Original Lineup from Myster Science Theater 3000 Comments on The Heat
The Heat isn’t a particularly fantastic movie, as it falls short of other films in the dysfunctional cop-duo comedy genre. However its failings don’t necessarily lend it to being branded as bad. If you can stand profanity laced one-liners and don’t mind wading through loads of jokes to experience a few classic moments, then you’ll probably enjoy The Heat. There’s no denying that Mellisa McCarthy is a riot and a trip to watch. Her antics alone are worth the price of admission. While the movie’s audio and video presentations aren’t anything spectacular, they do more than an adequate job for this kind of film and definitely don’t detract from the overall experience. Fans of the film will appreciate the Blu-ray’s two-plus hours of extras, out-takes, and deleted scenes.
If you’re a fan of comedies (especially slapstick comedies), then give The Heat a try.
Starring: Sandra Bullock, Michael McDonald, Melissa McCarthy
Directed by: Paul Feig
Written by: Katie Dippold
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS 5.1, Spanish 5.1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 117 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: October 15, 2013
Buy The Heat Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch for fans of Comedies!