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 Suffragette

    Suffragette

    Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham-Carter star in Sarah Gavron's drama about the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement

  • Film4 Notorious

    Notorious

    The story of the life and death of Chris Wallace, known to his fans as the legendary rap artist Notorious B.I.G.

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Dark Horse: Illustrated poster released

    A new illustrated poster has been released for Louise Osmond's award-winning inspirational documentary Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story Of Dream Alliance, designed by Brighton-based artist Rich

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Dark Horse: Welsh Premiere Announced

    [caption id="attachment_4385" align="aligncenter" width="600"] Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story of Dream Alliance[/caption] Sundance Award winner Dark Horse: The Incredible True Story Of Dream A

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Tweets @Film4

  • Premiere alert! Kristen Stewart & Chris Hemsworth star in Snow White & The Huntsman, Sun 5th: http://t.co/bXIkiAvACR http://t.co/hzvHPEQ0ri

  • @Maeglin_Elensa @cheshirecatt182 Yup, it's definitely Nausicaa.

  • @poisoninfinite Definitely interested. (Love your display pic, btw!)

  • With Nausicaa's escapist fantasy, Hayao Miyazaki hoped to "offer a sense of liberation to present-day young people". http://t.co/iRvSjCbOmL

  • @Everytimeref @Glinner This is definitely the English version. The full language deets for the season's on our site: http://t.co/v8ez5HMgZp

Share