The Heat is your standard buddy-cop movie about an unstable, street-smart cop who pairs up with a straight-laced federal agent who could learn a few things about life. It’s a time-tested premise that perhaps has been getting a little worn. Thankfully, somebody thought to shake things up by doing something remarkable: casting a makeup-less Melissa McCarthy as the foul-mouthed Boston cop, and Sandra Bullock as the painfully rigid, know-it-all D.C. agent. Women in comedy have been getting short shrift for so long, it felt almost revolutionary when the admissions teller handed me my ticket.
The movie is literally laugh-out-loud, with a humor that focuses on slapstick and vivid language: F-bombs make up a third of McCarthy’s vocabulary, another third is exposition, and the last and best third consists of lengthy and imaginative threats of bodily harm. The plot is beside the point—what really matters is the fizzing chemistry between the two lead actors—but in a nutshell, the two frazzled peacemakers navigate their way through working class Boston to uncover the identity of a vicious drug lord, and encounter Life Lessons and Friendship along the way. But The Heat is not mawkish—moments of seriousness can barely breathe, they’re squeezed so tight between jokes.
Thanks to the financial success of 2011’s Bridesmaids, Hollywood execs have finally noticed that audiences are willing to pay money to see funny women being funny. And since Hollywood’s business model is to make the same thing over and over again until it stops making money (superhero flicks! Saw XIII!), you could guess that we’ll start seeing more funny women in theaters soon. Surprise, surprise—you’d be right. Check out any movie trailer website (I like http://trailers.apple.com) and you’ll find such promising fare as In a World…, The To Do List, and Girl Most Likely—all flicks with imperfect and hysterical female leads who find themselves in ridiculous situations, all while avoiding the weak romantic-comedy tropes women have been relegated to for the past couple decades.
And while all that equality stuff is great, what this really means is that I can pin my hopes on The Heat 2. As Melissa McCarthy’s Officer Mullins might say: “I’d watch the s*** out of that.”