I didn’t have the highest expectations of The Heat. I hope you don’t mind me saying so, but I want us to be honest with each other. When it was first announced last year, we were still in the middle of Bridesmaids fever, and since it shares a director, Paul Feig, and a star, Melissa McCarthy, it was pretty much a done deal that it would be awesome. But then, the first trailer came out, and guys, it did not look super fantabulous. Like, on a scale of one to fantabulous, this movie was barely even registering. It was a time of darkness and disbelief and deep questioning for all involved, but it’s just that I’ve been burned so many times by movies that should be good and aren’t! I’ve built up some walls around my heart, y’know? I thought maybe I’d never love again.
So that’s where I was when I walked into The Heat earlier this week, and I recommend that’s how you go in, too, because I EFFING LOVED IT. I don’t know if it was the low expectations, or the fact that Sandra Bullock and Melissa have an adorable friendship in real life so I gave them the benefit of the doubt, but I thought this was a really great movie, against all odds. And you know why? Because Melissa McCarthy is a golden goddess of comedy. She is legitimately unstoppable and I want the camera to be on her always. She and Sandra really are a well-matched pair, actually, because Sandra anchors the movie to the traditional comedic standbys, and Melissa just gets to go off on insane riffs. It was amazing.
Sandra plays ‘uptight FBI special agent Sarah Ashburn’. She’s a better agent than all the dozens of the men on her team, and she rubs that in their faces so hard that her arrogance has left her with no friends. She’s so lonely that she doesn’t even have her own cat to watch shitty television with her; she has to ‘borrow’ her neighbor’s. Alternately, Melissa plays ‘testy Boston cop’ Shannon Mullins who grew up with a loud-mouth family and a passion for her neighborhood that encouraged her to be a cop. The two of them have to team up to take down a ruthless drug lord, which is complicated by the fact that neither woman has ever had a partner (or a friend) before.
Could go a lot of ways, right? I mean, right? Kinda seems like it could be filled with cliches and tired stereotypes, but Melissa blows all that out of the water. Guys, I was literally laughing out loud multiple times, which never happens to me. I’m widely acknowledged by my friends to be the absolute worst audience member ever, because even if something strikes me as funny, what usually happens is I just smile or nod appreciatively. I do a lot of thinking about the comedy, and very little laughing at it. Yeah, I’m that asshole. I wish I weren’t, but I am, and try as I might, there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s like watching a movie with a polite giraffe; very little gets actual sound out of my mouth.
But this movie had me LOL-ing multiple times, and it was all because of Melissa. Honestly, I know it won’t get nominated for Oscars, because it’s a comedy and the old white guys at the Academy would hate it, but she is doing some insanely good work. She’s a goddamn monster, in the best way possible, and I’m obsessed with her.
The movie also stars Michael McDonald, Marlon Wayans, and Taran Killam, as well as comedian Chris Gethard in a small but great role as ‘overeager club guy’. That wasn’t his official name, but it’s fitting, so get over it. He appeared on our list of Rising Improv Stars last month of comedians who we think should be on Saturday Night Live, so I’ll take my ‘predicting the future’ award now, please and thank you.
Oh and see this movie. Melissa McCarthy deserves your money.
(Image: The Hollywood Reporter)