** out of ****
Now that it's been in theaters for three weeks and enough people have enjoyed it, I feel like it's safe to say I didn't like The Heat. Since I was one of the few unimpressed people who saw its director's previous film, Bridesmaids, my opinion is pretty irrelevant, when considering the movie's audience.
Like his Bridesmaids, Paul Feig's The Heat is a comedy that runs over two hours and is filled with very funny moments outweighed by a lot of needless deadweight. Unlike Bridesmaids, it doesn't have interesting subject matter. The snore-worthy, cliche-ridden, buddy-cop formula it follows, is hardly refreshed by the fact that it stars women as the two main characters.
I'll never forget defending Bridesmaids when a group of elderly women were trying to convince me that it was shameful trash that only despicable people could enjoy. Nothing riles me up more than a person criticizing a flawed movie for the wrong reasons. Maybe they had been very misguided in seeing a low-brow R-rated comedy, but this was only because the cast of women and the theme of marriage had led them to believe they were seeing something safe.
Feig's two films do challenge the roles placed on women in the movies and I'm glad that most moviegoers react enthusiastically, but I must stay objective. I've laughed more at other films and yawned less.
Sandra Bullock is the straight-faced by-the-book federal agent while Melissa McCarthy is the unhinged, foul-mouthed, undercover cop. Get'em together and whoa! The type-casting is obvious and uninteresting. The redeeming side, is that these two can be funny together at times, particularly in an extended drinking montage set in a blue-collar dive bar.
I get annoyed when I watch a comedy film and a lot of the tactics seem transparent. They set up a lot of shot/reverse shot dialogue sequences waiting for the funniest takes to happen. The results vary but the atmosphere is always plain. Feig makes no artistic attempt to make the funniest things about his films funnier.