For some reason, the vast majority of Hollywood doesn't understand that women love movies just as much as men. But every once in awhile, someone gets it. Paul Feig, the director of Bridesmaids, is back with a buddy cop movie featuring two of the funniest women alive: Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. Now, I wasn't the biggest fan of Bridesmaids, mostly because it was approximately an hour too long. But The Heat is a much tighter, if more conventional, movie.
Bullock plays Special Agent Ashburn, who desperately wants a promotion but first needs to prove that she can play well with others. McCarthy plays Officer Mullins, a cop from the streets who has no desire to play well with others. She just wants her neighborhood safe. Once again, Bullock is relegated to the uptight role, although there are plenty of chances for her to show off her physical comedy chops. McCarthy is the one allowed to let loose and go crazy with it. She sells every single second of it. I've loved McCarthy since she played Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls, and Mullins is a long way from Stars Hollow. When McCarthy is on the screen, she owns it. She might not be able to chase a perp down on foot, but you believe that she has the confidence and authority to get the job done.
Okay, one of my favorite things about The Heat is that when Ashburn or Mullins gets hurt then they actually act hurt. There is no magical recovery from wounds. My second favorite might be that there's no romantic storyline bogging down the proceedings. The movie makes it clear that both women can get it, then backs off. There is a nice bit of flirting that intensifies throughout the movie between Ashburn and another agent (Marlon Wayans), but not a full-blown romance. Who knew Wayans would age so well? (Especially when you put him in some dapper threads.)
In case you doubted it, The Heat is hilarious. Only one moment really fell short for me, and that was because there was a great deal of blood and I am squeamish. (And yet I was laughing at corpse humor earlier in the movie. My squeamishness is mostly limited to blood.) I love seeing comedies in theaters. You don't hear the experience praised as much as special effects extravaganzas, but there's something about laughing with other people.
The Heat is a movie men and women can love. Adding some estrogen to the buddy cop formula doesn't ruin anything. Especially not when the movie rides on the shoulders of actors as talented as Bullock and McCarthy. If you're looking for a funny, profanity-laden action film, then go see The Heat.