Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Heat

The comic premise behind The Heat is that a Yale educated FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) has to prove she can get along with a street smart South Boston cop (Melissa McCarthy) in order to get promoted. So we have the makings of a buddy movie in which opposites attract a la Rush Hour, Trading Places and Lethal Weapon. The Heat makes up for the lapse in female versions of the genre and aims to prove that what comes out of the mouths of its female leads can compete with Eddie Murphy, Chris Tucker or any other bad boy on camera. And if we were to judge the movie by this criteria--“tattle tits,” “boner killer,” “who closes the door when they take a shit,” “I’m going to get you a dick sucker for Xmas, so I don’t have to do it no more” are a few prize examples--The Heat is a mild success. It would be unfair to say that there aren’t some funny scenes in the movie which could be subtitled, “Six Jokes in Search of a Director,” but the set-up is so utterly contrived and tedious that The Heat, is an essay on everything that a high concept movie shouldn’t be. It's actually work to take the wind out of Melissa McCarthy’s sails. So what went wrong? “What does laughter mean?” Henri Bergson once asked. If only someone could come up with a formula which explained what goes wrong here, but let’s just say that like Miss Havisham two talented comedians are caught up in the cobwebs of an utterly listless script and choreography. Melissa McCarthy’s got the anarchic force of a great comedian, but she has to be more selective, if she wants to repeat her tour de force performance in Bridesmaids. The Heat like a previous film Identity Thief is merely a worthy idea. But it’s the execution not the premise that creates the humor.

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