Friday, July 26, 2013

Movie Reviews: "The Heat" (2013)

Not that kind of heat.

Closer, but not quite.

Oh, come on!

Did you ever have that one movie that you wish had turned out just a bit differently?

The kind of movie that you swear you’ve watched somewhere else and can almost tell what’s going to happen? Then you think that the film is doing this deliberately to pull something wild but unique at the end to surprise you? Only for it to not go the way you wanted it?

“The Heat” was that one movie for me.

FBI Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is great at her job of catching drug dealers and murderers, but isn’t good at much else. In an attempt to get a promotion, Ashburn takes a case in Boston to pin down a drug lord that has never been seen. While there, she comes across a local cop, Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), who is street smart and knows her way around town, but also has a bad life outside of the badge.

Initially, the two despise one another, but are forced to partner up. With the combination of Ashburn’s FBI training and intelligence and Mullins way around the city, the two get into wacky antics while trying to stop the drug dealers and just maybe learn to be better people and cops.

Here’s the thing about “The Heat,” it is just one more script rewrite away from being a great film. There are so many missed opportunities for jokes that could have been easily filled, while also fleshing out the characters more to give the film the ultimate laugh at the end. Just one more supervisor to look the script over and suggest what was missing or needed to be changed, and this would have been an outstanding comedy.

One of the running jokes during the film is how both Ashburn and Mullins’ lives outside of their uniform is terrible. Ashburn is personified as the woman version of “The 40-Year Old Virgin” who is a crazy cat lady...whose only cat is owned by her neighbors.

Mullins family hates her guts, because she arrested her own brother on drug possession. Now she spends every night in some smokey bar hooking up with the closest clingy guy who wants more than just a good night.

What I thought was going to happen in this film was that the filmmakers were going to go with a different approach to the resolution of these two and their pathetic lives. That they were going to avoid the cliche of everything working out better in the end and their lives becoming great and smiles all around.

That instead of this, even after everything they went through and going through so many hoops, their lives would still be just as terrible, if not worse.

And you know what? That would have been hysterical and clever.

Part of comedy is laughing at other people’s misfortunes. The ultimate misfortune is nothing more than one’s life being reduced to nothing, or less than nothing. To go from low on the ladder, to so low that they are literally burning a hole in the ground.

Unfortunately, this never comes to pass, leaving me a bit disappointed at the missed opportunities that this film was given. Especially since both Bullock and McCarthy have the charm and comedic talent to pull something like that off.

Still, this plenty of good comedy to go around in this film, and even a good range of comedy as well. There’s slapstick, verbal comedy, insult comedy, references-a-plenty and a fun-spirited nature to keep the jokes coming. If you came into the film expecting to laugh, you’ll get your share of that here.

Not to mention the acting all around is solid. Not just Bullock and McCarthy do a good job, but also great comedy from the likes of Dan Bakkedhal, Michael McDonald and Tom Wilson (Biff from the “Back To The Future” trilogy). Every minor character in the film gets at least a chance at comedy. It doesn’t always work from people like Marlon Wayans, but you take what you can get.

Overall, “The Heat” had many laughs and some enjoyable banter between the two leads. Though the film had chances to become a unique piece of comedy, it was still enjoyable for what it was.

Final Grade: C

Is it me, or would "The Heat" have been infinitely better if it had Eddie Murphy in it? Or if they played this song? Just saying.

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