Friday, July 19, 2013

"The Heat" is a female police comedy; "Heat", almost two decades ago, was dead serious

The Heat” (directed by Paul Feig and screen-written by Katie Dippold for Fox) is a police situation comedy, big and bloated, that extracts as much humor as possible from the gratuitous violence needed to track down organized crime and drug rings.
Sandra Bullock is macho enough as the FBI agent Ashburn, but the real macho woman is overweight but physically combative tag team sidekick Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), the best Boston PD undercover cop ever. McCarty might well get a supporting actress nomination for this role. 
Ashburn gets sent to Boston to prove herself, almost as homage to the world of Damon, Affleck, and Marky Mark – “The Town” and “Mystic River”.  Except that here, hurting some people gets funny.
There’s plenty of gender bending, after Mullins cuts off some of Ashburn’s clothes to make her disco ready.  At the end of the disco sequence, Ashburn even shouts, “we girls were born with hair on our legs, too”.
The “straight” disco scene evokes a growing issue, however tangentially: people being photographed in bars.  It wasn’t thought about much until maybe 2011, when social media and tagging of photos caused many people to believe that the standards of expected courtesy should change.
The “comedy” gets pretty racy toward the end.  There’s a scene where Mullins has to give a man a tracheotomy when he chokes on food.  Then, at the very end, the rogue criminals have to be shot in very sensitive spots – reminding one of Lorena Bobbitt.
The official site is here

I saw the film at a later show Thursday night at the Angelika Mosaic in Merrifield, VA, before a fair crowd, which was laughing a lot, even early.
Ashburn's lovable feline friend, Pumpkin, helps with a pleasant surprise at the end.  One of the hugest domestic cats ever in the movies.
This film has nothing to do with Michael Mann’s 1995 drama “Heat” for WB, in which Al Pacino and Roert De Niro have a famous confrontation, and in which there is shown one of the most elaborate bank robberies ever in cinema.  And that film used the Lutoslawski Violin Concerto to establish its serious tone.
So the newer film is distinguished by the direct article.

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