THE HEAT Review

by     Posted 1 year, 151 days ago

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According to the MPAA’s theatrical market statistics for 2012, slightly more women went to see movies than men.  However, most movies feature men in the lead roles or with an actress as a co-lead.  Hit films are usually male dominated and then if there’s movie in the same vein but featuring women, it’s “the female [insert hit movie here]“.  The Heat could be described as a female buddy-cop movie (you don’t need a specific movie title because there have been so many), which is not only pithy and unfair, but only serves to highlight how long it’s taken to get talented actresses to lead a genre that’s been around for decades.  With tremendous chemistry between stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as well as painfully funny dialogue, The Heat isn’t a hilarious buddy-cop flick with women.  It’s a hilarious buddy-cop flick, period.  It’s also the funniest film I’ve seen all year.

FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn (Bullock) is angling for a promotion, and so she reluctantly accepts an assignment in Boston to bring down a drug lord.  Working the same case is Boston Police Department Detective Shannon Mullins (McCarthy).  Due to their abrasive personalities, both women frequently find themselves at odds with their co-workers.  Ashburn is arrogant and Mullins is constantly threatening to maim or murder anyone who gets in her way.  But more importantly, both women are damn good at their jobs.  However, their egos cause serious friction when they’re forced to team-up.

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It’s the buddy-cop formula almost down to a tee.  They’re are mismatched personalities, they’re both good at their jobs even though they accomplish their goals in very different ways, and they’re at odds with their superiors although Ashburn is a bit more mannered in her disagreements while Mullins asks if anyone in the office has seen the captain’s (Thomas Wilson) “tiny girl balls if little girls had balls”.   Eventually (and this is a spoiler if you’ve never seen a buddy-cop film before) they overcome their differences and develop a mutual respect and admiration that leads them to become a successful, crime-fighting duo.

But The Heat has one important exception to the formula: they’re outcasts partly because they’re women.  People would be annoyed by their behavior even if they were men, but director Paul Feig cleverly surrounds the lead characters with male co-workers.  When Ashburn storms a criminal’s house with an FBI team, they ignore her orders and dismiss her assumption only to be shown up by her finding the evidence.  She does it a way that annoys her fellow agents (although it’s amusing to us), but she’s the smartest person in the room.  Mullins may insult almost every single cop, but she’s unfailing persistent when it comes to running down perps.  Nevertheless, they still don’t get the positive recognition or even begrudging respect they deserve.  “I know we’re not supposed to say it, but being a woman in this field is tough,” Ashburn tells Mullins as they start to bond over drinks.

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This bonding is particularly rewarding because even though we know it’s going to happen, Katie Dippold‘s fantastic script does a wonderful job painting Ashburn and Mullins’ needing each other and not in a vague “girl power” kind of way.  They bond because they’ve rubbed everyone else the wrong way (again, their behavior would be understandably grating if it came from men), they’re lonely as a result, and the script finds way to make that loneliness both dramatic and funny.  Ashburn isn’t just alone; she’s a cat lady who doesn’t even have her own cat; she has to occasionally steal it from her neighbor (please stay during the credits to see how this situation gets resolved).

Just thinking back on some of these jokes makes me crack up.  I was laughing throughout The Heat and I was laughing hard.  On paper, Ashburn and Mullins are easy foils, but it takes chemistry to bring the characters to life, and Bullock and McCarthy have that chemistry in spades.  Each actress brings her own comic sensibilities to the role.  Yes, we’ve seen Bullock play an uptight, type-A personality, and McCarthy do acerbic and unfiltered, but both approaches feel fresh when paired together.  The actresses aren’t trying to one-up each other, and instead Bullock knows when to play off McCarthy’s one-liners and when to let her co-star just go wild.  McCarthy gets a little stuck at times reciting a variation of “fucking” plus violent intent, but she also has some of my favorite lines of the year.

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The Heat is a comedy first and foremost, but what makes it even more worthwhile is how it acknowledges gender without sermonizing.  The movie isn’t a heavy-handed commentary about the state of female-led mainstream movies (the fact that it’s the only female-led film this summer already says that), or criticizing the buddy-cop genre.  It’s enjoying the genre and being amongst the best it has to offer.  The action may not blow you away, but the film’s personality, comedy, and heart more than make up for it.  Hollywood does need more female-led films, and it also needs more great films.  Bring The Heat 2.

Rating: A-

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  • Werefon

    Sold out little MuthaFuck! This ain’t better than Man of Steel or Star Trek! You bitch!

    • sneezed

      You know, I noticed the higher rating too, but I like to believe this isn’t some sly back hander…..

      Guess I will go see it and decide, the reputation of Collider now hangs on a cinema ticket tear.

    • RiddleThemThis

      I think the A- comes from comparing it to other films in the genre. I doubt hes making direct comparisons between this and star trek when hes writing his review. Logically, he would be comparing it to other buddy cop type action films.

    • Nick Person

      Huh? People actually liked Man of Steel? Wow…

  • jayhawker

    Wow… Werefon sure knows how to use his big boy words. And Both Star Trek and Man of Steel were massive disppointments when they were two of the three movies I was looking forward to the most. Here’s hoping Despicable Me 2 doesnt make it a tri-fecta.

    • Qwagler

      He knows that like your Mom!))

  • sneezed

    A higher rating than Superman or Star Trek. I was umming and arring about seeing this one at the cinema, but by your write up I think Ill give it a go.

    • Kara

      Be warned.

      It’s not that funny.

      It’s also not half as “clever” as Goldberg suggests.

      Surrounding female leads with incompetent male counterparts isn’t “clever.” It’s lazy. This movie suffers from the same problem as “Brave.”

      If the only way you can suggest the prowess of your female lead is to juxtapose it with male buffoonery then your female lead is operating under a handicap…. a handicap that suggests women can only be strong in relation to weak men.

      I was hoping for a movie where strong women traded shots with strong men… and unfortunately this wasn’t it.

      It’s simply the same patriarchal creation you’ve seen a thousand times before… only this time it has been catered to women who blindly spend their money on anything which gives the vague impression of girl power without realizing they’re the but of the joke… and apparently Matt Goldberg too.

      In this case, the consumer is consumed.

      • sneezed

        hmm well as I get “free” cinema entry due to being a member I can see this without actually paying for it so may give it a go if nothing else is on.

        I was hoping it would be in the vain of The Other Guys

      • Taylor

        I completely agree Kara. I am baffled by how Matt thinks this movie has a”Fantastic” script. The script is subpar at best, and it is the chemistry of the leads that helps it to rise above the mediocre script.

      • brNdon

        I laughed my ass off through this entire movie.

        It seems like the only reason you see the men in this movie as incompetent is because there were two strong females in the lead.
        The men in the male versions of these movies are generally idiots on their own. We men really are that dumb. That’s why being a guy rocks.

        Look at almost every single male-buddy-cop-movie and tell me that the lead characters aren’t idiots for most of the movie. And the females in this movie had their faults as well.

        I think you missed the point by a long shot. You may have been more on the mark if the movie and it’s script HAD been trying to shove girl power down your throat the whole time, but it doesn’t.

      • brNdon

        I think the movie you wanted to see was Erin Brockovich 2, or maybe Won’t Back Down: We’re Still Not Backing Down Harder.

      • http://collider.com Matt Goldberg

        I’m not exactly sure what “the consumer is consumed” means, but going to your larger point, it was definitely food for thought. But I don’t think strong women are only defined by their relation to strong men, which would mean that each needs the other for definition, thus diminishing the proposed strength. Why can’t Mullins and Ashburn define each other as strong?

        Also, I wouldn’t categorize all men in the film as “weak”. Mullins’ captain is absolutely weak, but that’s the joke. He’s been worn down. Ashburn’s fellow agents aren’t weak; they’re just not as good as her (and I don’t see how you could categorize Demian Bichir’s character as “weak”). That’s what makes her arrogant just as Mullins’ environment isn’t challenging to her. These aren’t necessarily subservient men; they’re just not as good at their jobs as Ashburn and Mullins.

        As for not finding it funny, that’s just a matter of personal taste. Trying to explain the humor in almost any joke ceases to make it funny.

        But thanks for the comment. It was very thoughtful, and I appreciate your point.

  • Julio Navas

    Goldberg´s Logic:
    Rotten Tomatoes 0%: Best Movie Ever
    Roten Tomatoes 95-100%: Blah, Blah, Blah. C-

    • hmm

      Rotten tomatoes: 70% actually

      • NoPEÑA

        WRONG: Rotten Tomatoes 59%

    • enzofloc

      Rotten Tomatoes is the worst quality indicator for movies. If all critics gave the movie 5/10 the RT meter would give it 0%. If all critics gave the movie 6/10, it would clock in at 100%

      • Julio Navas

        The question is, is it accurate? In most cases i would say it is.

  • Henry

    i cant at some people every week they come here and complain a about matt goldberg EVERY DAMN WEEK what are you doing here if you dont like him? you just want to create drama. I for once Im a fan of Matt. Man of Steel was crap and everyone thinking it was awsome just because of Superman and Nolan is folling themself. Every reviewer have his own opinion and if he liked this movie who are you to question not all like the same movies. And people trusting reviewers for watching a movie are seriously dumb if transformers look appealing to you then dont listen to the critics and go and see it.

    • Jason Richards

      GOLDBERG IS A PIECE OF HUMAN SHIT. LES MISERABLE GETS A BAD REVIEW, BUT THIS PIECE OF JUNK GETS A A-? FUCK GOLDBERG.

      • kpits84

        Is this is caps because you’re “siiiiinging it???” Les Mis got a bad review because no one wants to watch that noise. Fa la la la la.

    • NoPEÑA

      Goldberg Lover… We like the sie,we just dont like Matt’s stupid reviews!!! HAHAHA

    • Nerdgasm

      Goldberg is actually spot on most of the time. The masses are blind as fuck. Number One [Just to highlight somethings that people are taking hurt notions to] Iron Man 3 tried to go at a different angle with their characters. Tried reinvent. IN doing so it fell short for me but i can see why Matt Praised it. NUmber Two : Star Trek Into Darkness was fucking dumb and dissappointing. It did the opposite of what i liked about Iron Man 3 IN FACT RETREAD an entire movie! This was something the first movie blew up in our faces basically telling us “Get ready for new stories with new twists.” Same story. Even though it’s entertaining does not merit a high praise cause they ripped off a movie they shouldn’t had. Number Three Les Miserable was good save for the fact that it was all done in close proxminity to the damn actors faces and you can the ear pieces they were using in many of the shots. While the acting was the direction was AWFUL and does not Merit high praise. And Man of Steel was dull and pretty bland for a superhero film. The Origin of HIM figuring everything out was tiring from all the exposition and then randomly given a suit that bares NO RESEMBLANCE to Jor-El’s so it makes no sense that it would JUST be WAITING for him. And the ending was way to destructive with no REAL consiquences for the hero to stop and go “Hmmmm, maybe we shouldn’t do this THIS way.” People only loved it cause everyones lips are covered with the feces of Chris Nolan. As i am a fan of some his work Insomnia, Dark Knight Rises and the writing and producing on Man Of Steel just show he has a lot to learn. And Batman Begins is the same damn story we’ve seen over and over just darker. It is the Spiderman story. His loved ones die, he wants revenge, learns his power and the symbol he wants to become, Can’t kill the badguy oh wait bad guy kills himself basically, anyways.

      Lay off Matt. It just shows teh greater public is the reason why we get all these shitty films. Hollywood won’t stop thing sunless you stop going to horrible fucking pieces of shit.

  • junierizzle

    I just don’t find McCarthy funny. Pass.

    • Pk

      Yeah she is way overrated

    • kpits84

      I just don’t find Conan O’Brien funny anymore. Pass on your pass.

  • YTH

    I NEVER comment on this site but this is just bullshit. A-? Are you kidding me? I went to a screening of this and it was pretty fucking awful. Come on, Matt.

    • Strong Enough

      wow a person like something you didn’t ! WHAT?????!!!!!!

  • dennis

    It’s not clever or funny. Mellisa McCarthy isn’t funny , if you’re judging her like a real person you’ll say she’s overrated, but she’s an average talent so obviously she’s better than Seth rogen(!). You’re a changed site though like when the picture of Alice Eve was first leaked onto the web it was all over this site, but when the shit hit the fan you called it inappropriate and when Joss Wheldon said he wanted more female superheroes obviously you wanted it aswell, good guy. You didn’t defend Shailene Woodley when the people on the site were going after her no defense at all.

    Also learn to review a movie correctly. Rule number one don’t give the plot away you fool.

  • Filmquack

    Well, for this movie to be even worth a C rating the previews would have needed to contain the 4 or 5 worst jokes in the entire movie and nothing else. I sincerely doubt, even as far as marketing departments go, the marketing for this movie was THAT BAD. So even though I hate to judge a movie by a single preview, I am judging this movie by a single preview. If it is ANYTHING like the previews it is a terrible piece of shit, and if it is nothing like the previews, this companies marketing department needs to be taught a lesson and I won’t be seeing it in theaters anyways.

  • NoPEÑA

    Matt,you are a JOKE has a movie critic. Period. Im done with this site and your stupid,non-sense reviews… Worst MOVIE CRITIC EVER.Sold Out!!!

    • kpits84

      Worst critique of a critique EVER.

  • Hop

    Oh, Goldberg actually LIKED a movie? Actually, while I think he IS a stupid reviewer and critic, and journalist, and probably person, I don’t hold up with all this Goldberg-bashing. Think of what it’s doing to his self esteem.

    • Strong Enough

      he fucked your mother or seomthing?

  • michel

    I really liked this,Many Skills used as well. I Love it.

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