Copyright © 2013 by 20th Century Fox
FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is a highly trained and competent investigator in her unit but is very much disliked by her peers for her behaviour. When her superior, Hale (Demián Bichir) is promoted, he promises Ashburn of replacing him if she is able to work well in a team while solving the latest case assigned to her in Boston. Detective Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), a brash police officer in the Boston Police Department captures a suspect that is key to Ashburn’s investigation and together, they are forced to help each other to bring down the drug kingpin, Simon Larkin. It is an ordeal at first for the both of them as their vastly different personalities and work ethics often clash, thus slowing down the mission. Over time, they strike up an unlikely friendship and through this, Ashburn realises what it is like to be in a team.
Sizzling! That is how Bullock and McCarthy’s on-screen chemistry is. It should be more aptly used in a romantic comedy, but it is a love story of a different kind. When we are first acquainted to Bullock’s Ashburn, she is a miss-know-it-all with very little regard to her fellow male officers. She is so determined and driven in her job that her canine companions in the task force are not spared of the ridicule as well. It is basically what you will describe of Shannon Mullins when she is on duty, only louder and wackier.
A by-the-book archetype and another who completely ignores the rules, it is a recipe for disaster should they ever cross paths. What could really be cringe-worthy in real life turns out to be the most hilarious parts of the movie. From the moment they meet at the car park albeit unofficially, it clearly sets the tone of their budding relationship. Most of the laugh-out-loud moments come courtesy from McCarthy spewing out words of ‘wisdom’ on her partner’s lifestyle or fashion sense.
The highlight of such audacity at Ashburn’s expense reaches a peak while both of these ladies concoct a plan to plant a bug in one of their suspect’s cell phone. Things do slow down a bit after that for us to get up, close and personal with our dynamic duo. It quickly picks up the pace once again after they obtain assistance on a lead via Mullins’ brother Jason (Michael Rapaport). The unmasking of the elusive Simon Larkin is a good twist but what truly excites is the unexpected treatment of Ashburn’s limb during her captivity with Mullins and Ashburn’s ‘retort’ to Larkin’s appendage.
Those who are jaded by yet another buddy cop comedy can take solace ‘The Heat‘ is not one more run-of-the-mill flick trying to cash in on this fairly successful formula. It may just be a female version of ‘Lethal Weapon’ or ‘Rush Hour’ but it does stand firmly on its own two feet due to the stars’ onscreen compatibility and taut script. Bullock, flawless as the uptight Ashburn has perfected the role after other equally memorable takes from her previous efforts i.e. ‘Miss Congeniality’ and ‘The Proposal’. Although a recognisable face on television, McCarthy only broke through recently with ‘Bridesmaids’ which is also a directorial hit for Paul Feig.
She continues her winning streak here as the sassy yet caring detective from Boston whom Ashburn forms a sisterhood with. Being the less tactful one, she will put you in your place whenever she deems fit. The laughs never fall short with every single line she utters. And that is what ‘The Heat’ does best; to just have a hooting good time while we are taken along for a riotous ride with this unlikely pair.
Rated R for pervasive language, strong crude content and some violence