‘The Heat’ Review : A high-octane comedy with plenty of firepower


FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Bullock) is a strictly by-the-book person. Confident in her talents, her demeanor doesn’t win her friends among her fellow agents. She’s such a loner that her only friend is her cat, Pumpkin. Check that. Pumpkin is her neighbor’s cat. With a promotion in mind she heads to Boston to help track down a drug trafficker. There she finds herself saddled with a partner, Shannon Mullins (McCarthy). She’s one of Boston’s finest though she’s about as popular with her co-workers as Ashburn. She also has popularity problems with her family. Sadly, her brother Jason (Michael Rapaport) is in prison. Even sadder? She put him there!

A high octane comedy with plenty of firepower, “The Heat” is a buddy film you’d expect to see a couple of A-list actors in. And you do. Only this time, instead of Sly and Arnold or Chris and Jackie or Mel and Danny (ok, you’re probably not going to see Mel and Danny together again) you get Sandy and Missy! And both are at the top of their comedy game here.

It’s almost fitting that in this season of tornadoes Hollywood releases a new film with Melissa McCarthy in a starring role. Since she hit it big with her Oscar nominated turn in “Bridesmaids” she has blown through multiplexes like the F-5 in “Twister.” She is truly a force of nature. Here she is given the chance to take no prisoners and she doesn’t disappoint. Bullock is just as good, especially Shannon begins to school her on the ways of the street. Supporting work by Rapaport and Marlon Wayans is solid. Look for Tom Wilson (Biff from “Back to the Future”) as Officer Mullins’ boss. And what a treat it is to see Jane Curtain on the big screen. One of the greatest comediennes of the past three-plus decades, it’s almost as if she’s passing the torch to one of the greatest new comediennes on the scene.

The script is sharply funny, with the contrasting styles (what is this, “Training Day”?, Bullock asks as McCarthy attempts to bond with a drug dealer) of both leads front and center. First time feature screenwriter Katie Dippold honed her talent writing for “MAD-Tv” and “Parks and Recreation.” She apparently caught the studio’s eye as “The Heat 2” has already been announced. Sorry gentlemen, looks like it’s time for the ladies to rule!