Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 15
  • Action, Comedy
  • 2013
  • 117 mins

The Heat

Film4

Synopsis

A by-the-book FBI agent (Sandra Bullock) and a street-wise cop (Melissa McCarthy) team up to bring down a drug kingpin.

About

Having cut her teeth on the cult TV sitcom Parks and Recreation, first-time feature writer Katie Dippold lucked out when Bridesmaids director Paul Feig fell in love with the first draft of her spec script for The Heat. And she lucked out big-time when Feig leveraged the box-office success of his début feature to cast Sandra Bullock and Bridesmaids break-out star Melissa McCarthy as seriously mis-matched buddies in this affectionate, female-inflected pastiche of 80s cop movies such as 48 Hrs. and Lethal Weapon.

Bullock's tight-arsed New York FBI agent is essentially a loose variation on her Miss Congeniality character, Gracie Hart: a book-smart professional with no friends, no family, no boyfriend and both eyes on a potential promotion, Sarah Ashburn is not a team player. Sent to Boston to investigate some gangland murders, the arrogant Ashburn sparks an explosive clash of wills when she tries to steamroller her Irish working class partner Shannon Mullins, a loud-mouthed local gal with street smarts, a fridge full of weapons and an intimate knowledge of her jealously-guarded home turf.

Police work initially takes a back seat as the two determined women go head-to-head: Ashburn likes getting inside the criminal's heads; Mullins would rather crack them open. So, naturally, there's a bonding scene in a blue collar Boston-Irish bar, in which Ashburn gets roaring drunk and busts some ill-advised dance moves with the hard-drinking Mullins. After which, they see one another in a different light.

Feig makes no secret of the fact that he prefers broad, physical humour to clever, wordy comedy, so there's nothing subtle about the violent slapstick action or rude jokes: Mullins' graphic description of Ashburn's neglected nether-regions is a case in point. Like Mullins herself, The Heat is initially hard to warm up to, as it tries too hard to establish its belligerent bolshiness and take-no-prisoners crudity; but like Mullins the film is ultimately both extremely funny and undeniably loveable.

Engagingly acted character comedy takes precedence over the nominal action-comedy plot, which involves the usual mysterious crime kingpin and the whereabouts of a big shipment of drugs. One might almost see this as an unconventional love story: two female cops, both in their own way ostracised misfits, start out hating one another, but gradually realise that they have complementary skill-sets and quite a lot in common. And while their contrasting characters are learning to get along, Bullock and McCarthy get to swear up a storm and kick some criminal butt.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Marlon Wayans, Melissa McCarthy, Sandra Bullock, Michael Rapaport
  • Director: Paul Feig
  • Producer: Jenno Topping, Peter Chernin
  • Photographer: Robert D Yeoman
  • Composer: Michael Andrews

In a nutshell

Gender-reversal action comedy: chalk and cheese female cops take down the bad guys and develop a mutual respect and love for each other.

by Nigel Floyd

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4

    We Bought a Zoo

    A widowed father played by Matt Damon moves to the South Californian country and purchases a zoo with his family

    On Film4: 31 Aug 6:25PM

  • Film4

    The Nebraskan

    Philip Carey stars as a calvary scout who attempts to make peace with the Sioux Indians

  • Film4

    What Richard Did on Film4

    Jack Reynor is Richard, a star athlete who has just left secondary school when a drunken encounter threatens to ruin his future. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, What Richard Did marks Reynor as an extraordinary new talent as a young man who quickly becomes

  • Film4

    FrightFest 2015 on Film4

    A season of horror films to celebrate Film4's FrightFest

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • RT @picturehouses: Thrilled to see the great response to @steve_oram's Aaaaaaaah! @Film4FrightFest. See it at @CentralPictureH on Fri: htt…

  • RT @Film4FrightFest: Get ready because tomorrow we're showing the most METAL film we've ever screened, do you think you can handle @Deathga…

  • @Film4FrightFest @DeathgasmFilm \m/

  • @OmedaJillie Ohh yeah. Amazing. 👍

  • Horror fans! @Film4FrightFest season continues at 12.45am with a gory double bill: [REC] 2 + [REC] 3: Genesis. http://t.co/3VXEKDRMza

Share