Friday, June 28, 2013

The Heat [2013]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (O) (3 Stars)  AVClub (C+)  Fr. Dennis (3 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review (S. O'Malley) review
AVClub (B. Kenigsberg) review

The Heat [2013] (directed by Paul Feig, screenplay by Katie Dippold) is the Bridesmaids [2011] of  "odd couple" / "cop buddy" movies: Think here of the Eddie Murphy / Judge Reinhold Beverly Hills Cop [1984+] series or the Dan Aykroyd / Tom Hanks vehicle Dragnet [1987] only here both the "stuffy, by the books" character, FBI Agent Ashburn (played by Sandra Bullock), and the "gritty, streetwise" character, Boston P.D. Det, Mullins (played by Melissa McCarthy), are women.

Ever by-the-books (indeed, she probably knows them from Yale by heart...), the moderately successful but not particularly liked by most of her coworkers (and thus never promoted...) New York based FBI agent Ashburn is sent by her boss (played by Damian Bichir) to Boston (perhaps in part to just get rid of her ...) to investigate / take-down a new and particularly vicious if still somewhat shadowy drug lord who had recently arrived there.  Soon after arriving, she crosses paths with a local force of nature in the form of BPD Det. Mullins, also super-competent, also disliked by her coworkers but at least also feared by them.

After giving-up on trying to get Mullins to stand-down and get out of her way, Ashburn (on advice of her far more pragmatic boss back in NY who simply doesn't understand why Ashburn would not want to work with local law enforcement "One would think that you'd want to learn from her...") accepts the inevitable and brings the streetwise Det. Mullins into the case.  Many, often extended laugh-out-loud (way into the next scene or two) situations ensue... ;-)

Particularly amusing in the film is Mullins' family -- basically the same family from The Fighter [2010] though taken to comedic extremes.  With her hair ever frazzled, chain smokin' Ma (played by Jane Curtin) always greets her hard-boiled (but actually moderately successful...) police detective daughter by flipping her off.  Why?  Well Det. Mullins had sent her own brother to jail.  "What kindah pehson would rat-out her own brahther?" Ma asks.  Well we find out why and while none of us would particularly enjoy doing that to our loved ones either, most of us would probably understand ...

The rest of Det. Mullins' family is a similarly sincere if often hopelessly disordered mess.  Dad (played by Michael Tucci) had a thing for hopelessly corny "athletic/religious art:"  Ever on velvet, Jesus in a Red Sox uniform with a giant bat hitting a baseball outta Fenway Pahk, Jesus in a Bruins uniform bodychecking some other hockey player into the bahds at Bahston Gahden.  At one point in the film, the family has to be quickly evacuated from their home to a hotel for their protection -- ma, pa, three or four brothers, plus two rather high-maintenance girl-friends of theirs -- and one wonders: "Oh my, if these people really had to go into a "witness protection program" how could one possibly "hide" them? ;-)

Then as Agent Ashburn / Det. Mullins work on their case, they encounter a veritable parade of villains and potential villains of every conceivable look or ethnicity.  It's one really messed up Bahston.  But it is all done with a smile. 

Parents, this film is very crude.  So I'm not sure you'd want to take a pre-teen to the film (though I'm not sure that they'd get many of the jokes anyway).  However, like most of Melissa McCarthy's other films, if one can get past the occasional crudity, this is often a very funny movie especially if one's ever been faced with "a glass ceiling." 

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