Brian Henry Martin at the movies

The Heat Is A Hoot

Published Thursday, 01 August 2013
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Just in time for Belfast hosting The World Police and Fire Games, comes a classic cop comedy that will have you rolling in the aisles. Director Paul Feig follows up his side splitting smash hit Bridesmaids with the arresting comic drama, The Heat.

If you chuckled at Police Academy, Naked Gun or Hot Fuzz, then prepare for some hilarious laugh enforcement.

Sandra Bullock plays uptight FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn, whose perfect nose for crime does not win her any popularity contests in her New York office. "It's no secret that none of the other agents like you" she is told by her boss, Hale (Demian Bichir) "Pack your bags, I'm sending you to Boston".

Once there, she is reluctantly teamed up with foul mouthed local cop Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), and the two couldn't be more incompatible. Bullock's Ashburn is prim, trim and does everything by the book. McCarthy's Mullins is rough, tough and fights crime like a bull in a china shop. "Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of" Ashburn unduly tells the manic Mullins in their first meeting, "It runs in many families".

"I'll shut the door on you" Mullins snaps back "You lay down here and put your head in the door. And I'll slam it about 157,000 times". Like or not, the gruesome twosome must join forces to bring down a ruthless drug lord and become the last thing either one expected: best buddies. "Me and you" Mullins later tells her prudish partner "We are the heat".

Director Paul Feig, who cut his teeth on television with Nurse Jackie and The Office demonstrates again his deft comic touch, while Parks and Recreation screenwriter Kate Dippold delivers punch after punch of pointed hilarity.

The Oscar winning Sandra Bullock proves to be the perfect foil to the uproarious Melissa McCarthy, who is fast becoming the funniest performer in cinema. She is simply a scream from the moment she appears on screen, equally adept at slapstick as quick-witted one liners. Her larger-than-life comic cop creation Mullins is farcical and facetious, playful and priceless. In The Heat, Bullock is hot but McCarthy is on fire.

"I am a federal agent" declares the straight-laced Ashburn, when discreetly entering a seedy nightclub "You look like you're going to set up a table and do their taxes" retorts Mullins. Another entertaining Mullins exchange is with a rival Albino agent, "What's wrong, you look a little pale?" Mullins sarcastically quips "Who's your wife? A five pound bag of flour with a hole in it?"

Since the beginning of cinema, police officers have been cast as comic characters, from the Keystone Cops to Inspector Clouseau. But all these funny coppers have been male. "Men are intimidated by the presence of a strong woman" declares Agent Ashburn, as she and Mullins tackle villainy and prejudice. How refreshing then, that The Heat shows us that girl cops just want to have fun too.

The Heat (Cert 15) is now on general release.

© UTV News
B. H. Martin
B. H. Martin

Brian Henry Martin is an accomplished documentary filmmaker and UTV's resident film critic, appearing regularly on UTV Live Tonight.

No matter what the film, there's a good chance Brian has seen it.

Twice.

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