The Heat review

The-heat-poster-smallBelieve it or not, there are some people out there that truly believe women are not as funny as men. In fact, the comedy genre, especially of the R-rated variety, has long been a boys-only club.  That is until Bridesmaids hit theaters in 2011 to widespread critical and commercial success. Bridesmaids proved that female comedy leads could stand toe-to-toe with their male counterparts and best them in both wit and physical folly. The film was clever, relatable, hilarious, and heartfelt. It’s this stage that Bridesmaids director Paul Feig and breakout star Melissa McCarthy step onto for The Heat, a buddy cop comedy starring McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. The flick is pleasant if predictable, garnering a few genuine laughs from ambitious performances, but ultimately The Heat plays too cheap to recapture the magic of Bridesmaids.

FBI Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is intelligent, arrogant, and uptight. Boston police officer Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) is explosive, clever, and downright foul-mouthed. When Ashburn is sent to Boston to investigate a large drug distribution ring, she crosses paths with Mullins, whose brash approach and limited wardrobe couldn’t differ further from Ashburn’s calculated style and countless pantsuits. Despite their differences, the pair team up to investigate the drug lord together, and then all of the stuff you’ve seen a million times before in Lethal Weapon movies happens.

Don’t get me wrong, The Heat is funny. Melissa McCarthy again proves that she is the best physical comedian out right now, man or woman. She attacks the part of Mullins with absolute vigor, emphasizing the hard consonants on every four letter word she can think of and loving every minute of it. Bullock also holds her own, quietly turning in another great comedic performance in the “straight guy” role. The pair have great chemistry and timing, but The Heat never tries to impress the audience with anything other than that.  It sets out to be Starsky & Hutch with two great actresses, but because of its uninspired script, it ends up more like Rush Hour 3.

The Heat is a perfectly acceptable comedy that relies too much on profanity for the hell of it and Boston accents to be memorable. With the talent involved, one can’t help but compare this film to the success of Bridesmaids, but perhaps that’s unfair. The Heat is certainly proof that female-driven comedy can be as uproarious, raunchy, and side-splittingly slapstick as anything you’ve seen. It just doesn’t do anything new.

The Heat opens today in Philly area theaters.

Official site.

Author: Jeff Piotrowski

Jeff Piotrowski is a fanatic movie buff and self-appointed critic living in the Philly suburbs. He enjoys a good beer, a sunny day, and has a beautiful wife whose favorite past time is disagreeing with him. He also hosts the Life + the movies Podcast.


  1. I recently went to a screening of ” The Heat” and found myself laughhing throughout the movies. Laughhing ? Oh yeah that’s right….becasue it was a comedy. I go to quite a few movie screening and I have found that the people who are actually paid to watch these movies for free are better suited to be cutting open frogs at Harvard medical. The critics or critical as I call them, generally sit there with disdain in thier eyes and free poporn in their mouths ready to tell you and I rather we should stay away or pay and see. The one factor in thier movie justice system that most of these criticals fail to see is that ” IT’S A FANTASY”. And that what we work aday folks go to the movies for in the first place. Often after I’ve wasted time reading these criticals statement about a movie, I find myself wondering if this is what Congress goes through when there making a mess of things. And while Jeff Piotrowski cast himself not as a critical movie critic he sure seems to have attended some of the party mixers that these folks throw. Anyway, keep doing what you do Jeff. It’s still better than paying your hard earned money to see a show just to break the veryday routine. Go see ” The Heat ” if you just want to slip away from the kids for awhile and laugh you ass off. Sorry for any bad grammar Jeff, I didn’t have enough money to attend Havard film and grammar school

    1. Theo– I appreciate the comments and the enthusiasm.

      For the record, I am a regular guy like you, with a day job and a a state school degree… I do not get paid for these reviews (although that would be awesome). While I do find myself less likely to turn my brain off and simply enjoy a flick for what it is when I am supposed to be thinking critically, I do take the time to digest the movie, its intended audience, and the peripheral aspects; I do not simply knee-jerk to “how do I pick apart this movie so I can sound smart?”. In fact, most of my feedback from other readers has been that I’m too complimentary of films they thought were average.

      Let me reiterate that I agree with you– The Heat was funny. There were several parts where I laughed out loud. That being said, where would you rank it in the pantheon of R-rated comedy? It doesn’t even come close to the Top 10, let alone 25. The yardstick I start with on each movie is whether I think it’s worth a $15/ticket to see, and if you’re regularly going to the movies, The Heat is a rental. I hear you though– it’s definitely a funny movie that serves up a decent amount of laughs, which is what you paid to see.

      PS– I knew nothing about the mixers… I’m getting short-changed!

      Thanks for reading.

  2. I cannot understand all the very negative reviews for this movie. They almost convinced me not to watch it. Fortunately, the decent reviews convinced me to take an chance, and I am glad I did. This movie is as good a comedy as any of the decent comedies to come out in the last two years, of which there were not many. The acting was top class. The script was very funny and the direction was just right. The leads complimented each other perfectly. The pace was very good and kept you interested. Even the slower part which was only a very small portion of the overall movie, but was one of the things which made it more human and easier to relate to. Well worth a look.

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