- Cullman, Alabama


June 27, 2013

FILM REVIEW: 'The Heat': L.A.'s Finest can't get a clue

The team-up of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy looks on paper to be a sure-fire formula for comic gold; both gifted comediennes, they also possess temperaments and physical packages diametrically opposed enough to re-create the kind of comedy made famous by such duos as Abbott and Costello or Jackie Gleason and Art Carney. In "The Heat," they play mismatched law enforcement officers who bicker and bumble their way into solving a crime and finding a friend. The conceit of the film, which was written by Katie Dippold and directed by Paul Feig — who directed McCarthy to sudden stardom in "Bridesmaids" — is that for all their differences, both share an essential loneliness that has kept them isolated and miserable.

That sad subtext gives much of the humor in "The Heat" a melancholy edge, especially when it comes to McCarthy, who once again is forced into a role that asks little more of her than swearing like a stevedore and subjecting herself to undignified slapstick centered around her generous figure. (An early bit has her crashing over a fence while she's pursuing a young, lithe perpetrator; a few moments later, she's trying to get out of a car wedged into a tight parking space, finally wriggling over a series of front seats like an ungainly eel.)

Bullock plays McCarthy's opposite number: uptight, put-together and prim, so you know going in that "The Heat" will feature at least one drunken girl-bonding montage, which in this case arrives almost as a random, perfunctory insert. Earlier, when they try to bug the phone of a suspect in a disco, Feig films the action so closeup that the scene's rich wealth of physical comedy is almost completely squandered.

Seen through one lens, "The Heat" is the product of a cheering trend in female-centered comedies, a feminist sister under the skin to "Bridesmaids." Seen through another, it revolves around the retrograde novelty of watching women swagger, spout vulgarities, brandish guns and toss around references to their vaginas (not to mention the odd areola and cervix).

Like Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx in "White House Down," Bullock and McCarthy and the chemistry they generate are far more compelling than the movie they're in. Too often the sketches go on too long, and the coarse, abrasive tone quickly begins to feel repetitive and off-putting. There's already talk of a sequel to "The Heat," which is good news if only to introduce some refreshing gender balance to the current franchise-movie monoculture. Give these ladies a genuinely smart, funny script — and give McCarthy more to play than what has become a tiresome tomboy shtick — and there's no telling what liberated heights they can reach.

One and a half stars out of four. R. Contains pervasive profanity, strong crude content and some violence. 117 minutes. Currently showing at Carmike 10 in Cullman.

Text Only
  • BRIA Pet of the week: Bria needs a forever home

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • HP historic schools 1 Holly Pond’s historic schools

    Anyone who has ever traveled through the countryside in and around Holly Pond knows why a settlement was built there.

    April 13, 2014 5 Photos

  • SOUTHERN STYLE: City kid walking

    I may sound like a farm kid, and in truth, I did spend a lot of time on my grandparents’ Landersville farm, but I wasn’t a farm kid — I was a city kid.

    April 13, 2014

  • HUCKABEE Pet of the week: Huckabee needs a forever home

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Stepping forward: The real Colbert

    Letterman changed the late-night TV game between his run on NBC's "Late Night" and starting the "Late Show" franchise in 1993. And while it's tough to replace a pop-culture icon, Colbert, in terms of pedigree and sense of humor, makes the most sense.

    April 11, 2014

  • VIDEO: CBS taps Colbert as Letterman’s Late Show successor

    Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman reports that CBS has announced Stephen Colbert as its choice to replace the retiring David Letterman as host of “The Late Show” on Bloomberg Television’s “Lunch Money.”


    April 10, 2014

  • 2 pics.jpg Accomplished vocalists to perform at Wallace State April 22

    Two amazing vocalists will perform on Tuesday, April 22 at Wallace State Community College as part of the college’s annual Arts in April celebration.
    Mezzo-soprano Maggie Gill and Tenor Shane Bloemetjie will each sing a selection of operatic and/or musical theater tunes as they perform, accompanied on piano by Mike Sparks, chair of the WSCC’s humanities department and a music instructor at the college. They will be performing arias by Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, and songs by George Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim and others.

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • Food page EASTER DINING: Decorating for the Easter table

    Easter is just around the corner and just happens to be one of my favorite holidays.

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • WSCC Vest to perform.jpg Award-winning pianist to perform April 15 at Wallace State

    Lovers of classical piano can hear one of the best pianists in the state on Tuesday, April 15, as Katherine Vest is set to perform at Wallace State Community College.
    Vest is a junior piano performance major at Samford University and studies with Ron Shinn. She recently earned first place in the Alabama Federated Music Clubs Auditions and she previously won first prize in the Alabama Music Teacher’s Association and Birmingham Music Club auditions. At Samford, she is a recipient of the Miller-Shepherd scholarship for outstanding piano students.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • CANDYLAND Pet of the week: Candyland needs a forever home

    Cullman County Animal Shelter Adoption hours are 9 – 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the shelter.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo