Before seeing this movie, I wasn’t much of a Melissa McCarthy fan, I confess. Unlike the rest of the entire female half of the human race (feels like!), I didn’t find Bridesmaids at all funny, and since that was the only thing I’d seen her in until The Heat, I wasn’t super gung-ho about the lady.
There are a number of bones I could pick with Bridesmaids, but chief among them is the fact the only character who wasn’t rail-thin (McCarthy) was — surprise, surprise! — the gross, weird character (Megan). The joke was that while she was comfortable in her own body, everybody else knew her body was totally disgusting. For example, “I never bloat,” her character says while cramming food into her mouth at a luncheon — that line’s hilarious, see, because she’s FAT. Every bit of humor related to Megan rests solely on her hideous appearance and her sexuality, which: blarrrrrrgh. This is so often how heavy people are portrayed in movies and on TV, and it really, really bothers me.
So, when I heard The Heat was directed by the same director, Paul Feig, and partly written by Judd Apatow (not famous for his inspiring female characters), I was braced for the same kind of part for McCarthy, and not at all sure I’d be able to stand it. The trailer made me laugh, though, so I gave in and sat down.
About ten minutes in and everything was forgiven. Because while you could certainly still make the argument that McCarthy’s playing a sorta-gross (how old was that sandwich?), definitely-weird character in this movie too, this time, she’s comfortable in her own body. . . and everybody else thinks she’s KICK-ASS. (Not to mention smart as a whip.)
This movie is an entertaining spin on the stereotypical cop-buddy flick, with McCarthy playing a brash Boston detective (Mullins) and Sandra Bullock playing a stuck-up, stuffy Feebie (Ashburn) who gets partnered up with Mullins, much to their fairly equal initial dismay.
While the plot is pretty forgettable — I’ve seen it three times now and I can’t currently drum up a single detail from the “crime-solving” story – it doesn’t matter because the plot isn’t the point. The point is watching two hilarious, bright, talented women act hilarious, bright, and talented together. It’s not a perfect movie, but, for me, it was an absolute blast from start to finish (three times over, in fact). If I’d gotten around to doing a Best-Of list for 2013, The Heat would’ve been in my top 5 for favorite movies of the year. So there.
Incidentally, after adoring the Melissa-McCarthy outta this film, I checked out season one of her sit-com, Mike & Molly, and was utterly charmed by both her and it. Want to see some heavier actors playing regular ol’ normal, kind, sweet, funny, people in love for a change? Tune in.
And as for The Heat — you should go rent this immediately. IMMEDIATELY! As Mullins would say, “Don’t make me put this cat down and punch you!” Recommended!
Cast: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, Taran Killam, Kaitlin Olson, Thomas F. Wilson