x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are perfect partners in The Heat

The relationship between the lead characters, which is spot on, makes the film worth watching.

Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock play mismatched police partners in The Heat. Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox
Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock play mismatched police partners in The Heat. Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox

The Heat

Director: Paul Feig

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy

***

This buddy cop action-comedy stars Sandra Bullock as an uptight FBI agent who teams up with Melissa McCarthy, a cop who regularly bends the rules to get the job done. The pair must put aside their differences to track down a dangerous Russian crime lord.

After directing the hit, female-focused comedy Bridesmaids, Paul Feig is apparently in a prime position to deliver the goods, working again with McCarthy, one of the breakout stars from that 2011 success.

What transpires is a mixed bag. The plot essentially treads the tried and true path of this particular sub-genre (explored to great depth by male actors in films such as 21 Jump Street and The Other Guys) and so offers little in the way of surprises.

The jokes are a little more risqué and there's a lot of focus on slapstick thanks to a knowing script from Katie Dippold (a writer on hit US TV show Parks and Recreation) that occasionally takes time to subvert some of the conventions of the buddy cop formula. In essence, however, the audience has little doubt where the film is going.

But the relationship between McCarthy and Bullock is spot on and makes the film worth watching. Bullock is entirely comfortable in her position as the conscience in the pairing, allowing McCarthy to let loose with all the wacky hilarity that made her such a hit in Bridesmaids.

Bullock grabs chances to be funny when she can, particularly with her deadpan quips and pratfalls, a refreshingly self-effacing approach given her relatively new status as an Oscar winner.

A lot of screen space is given to let the two stars develop, but notable inclusions to the supporting cast are Thomas F Wilson (forever recognisable as the villain Biff from Back to the Future) as a lame police captain and Michael Rapaport as McCarthy's equally verbose sibling. A crowd of recognisable comedy actors also pass through, including Marlon Wayans in a surprisingly slight appearance.

While it won't impact audiences as meaningfully as the previous Feig/McCarthy collaboration, The Heat wins your affections by revelling in its strengths and never trying to be too clever. It's entirely plausible that a sequel may be on the cards and, given the natural chemistry between the two actresses, a good script would make this an entirely welcome prospect.

artslife@thenational.ae

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