Who says women can’t be funny?
After the success of 2011’s “Bridesmaids”, it seemed like women had finally broken through the glass ceiling of comedy. The film was both critically praised and a box office smash, but the past two years have only produced one other film (“Pitch Perfect”) to similar success.
After “The Heat” buried its opening weekend competition (“White House Down”) last week, better make that two films.
“The Heat” uses the old formula of buddy cops who couldn’t possibly be more different from each other to show the world that women can actually play with the big boys.
After receiving the assignment of tracking down a drug kingpin, strictly-by-the-book FBI agent Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is forced to team up with a Boston detective (Melissa McCarthy) who violates pretty much every department regulation there is…during her lunch break. The story isn’t terribly original, but the comedic skills of Bullock and McCarthy give a tired concept new life.
I’m personally not a fan of the “F-words=funny” school of comedy, but there’s more to McCarthy’s portrayal of the foul-mouthed detective than just her potty mouth. Both women have great comedic timing, making their back and forth banter that much more enjoyable.
Sandra Bullock has been known more recently for her more dramatic roles in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” and “The Blind Side”, but here she gets to re-discover her funny bone that hasn’t been seen much since “Miss Congeniality”. While both women are great, Bullock gives the better, more subtle, performance that is equally funny without skimming the waters of least common denominator laughs.
One of the best things about “The Heat” is the incredible supporting cast of people who deserve to be in more films. Michael Rapaport and Marlon Wayans are known for their work in the early-00’s, but comedians like Bill Burr and Michael McDonald and SNL alum Jane I-Kinda-Thought-She-Was-Dead Curtin also play substantial parts.
As funny as the film is, it’s crazy that this is the first script by writer Katie Dippold. Prior to her work here, Dippold is only known as a writer from MADtv and a few episodes of Parks and Recreation. Although a lot of what makes the film work is the acting between McCarthy and Bullock, it’s a pretty impressive job for someone who’s never written a feature film.
The only negatives I can really provide for this film is, as previously stated, the story is a little tame. While “Bridesmaids” was more ground-breaking and original, “The Heat” essentially claims that women can star in good films where there is not a romantic sub-plot to be found. While there doesn’t have to be a crazy majority of female films just for the sake of having them, it would be alright if there was more than one film a month that centered on a woman.
Although I kinda doubt any “industry people” read little blogs like this one, I hope Hollywood takes notice that films like “The Heat” prove films about women can be both funny and profitable. *Steps off soapbox*
I hope to write a review for “The Lone Ranger” over the weekend, so feel free to come back soon.