Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Melissa McCarthy is on a roll. After firmly establishing herself on the US sitcom ‘Mike and Molly’, the actress went on to make a splash on the big screen with 2011’s ‘Bridesmaids’, earning herself an Oscar nomination.
Now, she teams up again with director Paul Feig, who was behind ‘Bridesmaids’, and late-blooming comedian Sandra Bullock for a buddy-cop movie, ‘The Heat’.
The verdict: McCarthy solidly anchors the show and the chemistry between these two comic actresses –in a genre that typically features male leads – keeps the heat up, even if the plot is predictable and some of the humour drops flat.
Uptight and ambitious FBI agent Sarah Ashburn (Bullock) is sent to Boston to take down a drug lord. She runs into Shannon Mullins (McCarthy), a tough cop with street smarts , a foul mouth, and a chip on her shoulder. The two unlikely personalities have to try to get along, providing much of the material for the movie.
Bullock's comedic timing is still great, but her humour feels almost antiquated next to McCarthy's take-no-prisoners’ style. McCarthy is a formidable presence, and steals the show from under Bullock's nose, but where Bullock reigns is when she slips out of the comic moments and gets into character.
There's not much on offer action-wise, since most of the scenes are played for laughs. Some takes are dropped in for shock value, such as an impromptu surgery at a restaurant, which is a reminder from Feig that he can still gross you out like he did with ‘Bridesmaids’.
After a while, the squabbling between the leads can get tiresome, but the duo keep the fun up. The one-liners occasionally misfire, but Feig keeps the movie racing along.
The result is a hit-and-miss comedy that might still be a worthy antidote for those sick of loud and garish blockbuster fare, even if the plot is as predictable as a drive round the neighbourhood.
It might not quite push Bullock's career much, but it does establish McCarthy as possibly one of the most viable female comedy stars out there.