That journey, film-wise at least, is still a work in-progress, but is none-the-less moving in the right direction. After the femalisation of the male-orientated The Hangover with the "funny-as but not as successful-as" Bridesmaids; it is now the turn of that other male-dominated staple of the "cop buddy" flick to be estrogenated. Where once the likes of Gibson & Glover stood tall with Lethal Weapon, there are some new sheriffs in town - Bullock & McCarthy!
The premise of The Heat is a simple and very well-trodden one - mis-matched cops trying to work together to solve a case that either is, or becomes, very personal to the both of them for different reasons. At least it is to begin with. The two anomalies that this latest offering of the "good cop, bad cop" scenario has over the efforts that have gone before are: as already stated its women this time round and not men, and the standard set of locations used are not adhered to. Normally, the city of New York would host the action so that the newcomer has to try and fit into the sprawling metropolis that is The Big Apple with its laughable lowlife and seedy streets. Here, FBI Agent Bullock leaves New York - all nice, clean buildings and quiet suburban neighbourhoods - and heads to Detective McCarthy's Boston - all lower working class, seedy streets - following a lead about a pretty nasty individual that no one has ever seen, except for the trail of bodies he leaves behind. Here New York is not the bed of iniquity and vice as normally experienced in film lore, but the serene, learned Boston is.
Apart from those two changes, everything else is familiar territory here. The two cops do not see eye-to-eye on anything. The methods that they use are deplorable to each other - one follows the rules and knows the rulebook inside out whilst the other knows the street rules and doesn't read books. One takes pride in their appearance and the other does not whilst they both have an opinion on the other's wardrobe. One quotes the book whilst the other throws the book - literally at a non-talkative suspect. So, all present and correct then.
However, what it does have is the genuine chemistry between the once Queen (and still should be seen as royalty) of "mainstream, inoffensive" comedy, Bullock, and the newcomer of "in yer face, rude" comedy, McCarthy. Both deliver exactly what you've seen from them before - McCarthy's non-embarrassed, socially-unaware Bridesmaids character, and Bullock's slightly uptight, self conscious While You Were Sleeping, Two Weeks Notice, Miss Congeniality character. Both work well together although at times the ying and yang and back 'n' forth between them does feel over exposed. This may be because at times the banter feels like more improvised than scripted and the film doesn't seem to know when to cut those scenes and move onto the next part. You feel that there are possibly a lot of jokes and banter that have been left on the cutting room floor in order to keep the running time down to a manageable amount for a comedy.
That is never more evident than when the bond between the two agents of the law become suddenly best buds instead of sheer duds. The move is all-too-quick to feel believable and seems forced to help move the story along - especially after all the aggression between them previously. They do get to share one of cinema's most funniest drinking scenes in recent years with both showing perfect timing but that should have been the catalyst for their bonding and not further cementing it as the script shows us.
Director Paul Feig has pretty much previously cut his teeth on the small screen rather than its bigger sibling with Bridesmaids being his only silver screen project before this. This does answer maybe why The Heat feels like a TV show expanded for the big screen with everyone making use of the freedom to swear which would be denied it if it were on the box. His duties on The Office, Nurse Jackie, 30 Rock, Arrested Development and Parks And Recreation makes The Heat feel like it could have been one of those shows. There the relationship could have been developed over a period of time and not rushed, but then again you wouldn't have got the swearing or the violence!
A fun outing for all, The Heat is worthy of its enticing trailer BUT be warned! It is NOT what it pretends to be at its very beginning! With its retro music and slightly tinted old film stock look along with split screen visuals, you'd think that you're in for a treat of an 80's cop buddy movie with knowing references and the like, but it is a lie! That is only over the opening title sequence and does leave you feeling abit cheated throughout and wondering how better it could have been if they'd just stuck with that idea. And if they'd added bloopers at the end! I mean, come on! ALL comedies should do that!
UK release date: 31.07.13