The Heat, 2013.
Directed by Paul Fieg.
Starring Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demian Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport, Jane Curtin, Spoken Reasons and Dan Bakkedahl.
An uptight FBI Agent and a ‘doesn’t play by the rules’ Boston cop have to team up to bring down a drug lord.
Racist. Sexist. Stereotyping of foreigners and highly offensive to albinos, The Heat is one of the most horrendous films you’re ever likely to see. Within the first 30 minutes the film introduces you to a black drug dealer and an Eastern European drug dealer and suggests that a Police Chief has “tiny little girl balls”. Which, coming from a female character you’d think the actor might have taken some issue with the fact that a female lead film is being sexist to women. One step at a time I guess. The Heat, frankly, is horrendously offensive and shockingly unfunny.
The story centers around two female officers of the law; FBI Special Agent Sarah Ashburn played by Sandra Bullock and Police Detective Shannon Mullins played by Melissa McCarthy. When Mullins arrests a drug dealer – he’s black, because all drug dealers are black – his role in a larger drug smuggling operation is suspected and the FBI send Special Agent Ashburn from New York to Boston to work with Mullins and investigate. The two are at loggerheads immediately, as the rough and tough Mullins naturally clashes with the uptight Ashburn. The comedy is… awful! McCarthy’s Mullins relies on several thousand f-bombs and other expletives to try and be funny, which it absolutely isn’t. The ‘comedy’ springs from the clashing of personalities, however, both characters are so over the top and unbelievable in their extremes that neither character works. Yes, there are a few laughs you can just about enjoy, but you’ll feel dirty afterwards for laughing at such infantile, vacuous nonsense that you’ll require a scrub down in an acid bath to make you feel clean again.
Bullock is a capable actress when she wants to be but here it is painful to watch her performance. At least later this year she’ll appear in Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity and regain some credibility. McCarthy was great in the TV show Mike & Molly, but some of the film roles she has taken have been a detriment to her as an actor. She certainly does give it her all, and she plays Mullins quite fine, but the character isn’t. She gets a bit of range here, and in the emotional moments she has to deal with handles them with care and is able to bring a sense of meaning to the proceedings.
Unfortunately that’s just not enough to save what is an atrocious comedy. Mentioned earlier was the fact that the film is offensive to sufferers of albinism. The human race make jokes about terrible things, it’s what we do, it’s how we deal. But The Heat, via McCarthy’s character unfortunately (she also had to deliver the sexist lines too) openly mocks sufferers of albinism. There is absolutely no need for the jokes to be there or delivered in such a manner. The albino character wasn’t even shown as an antagonist, Mullins and Ashburn simply open fire on the albino character’s condition – even asking him if his lover is a bag of flour. It’s horrendous. Later in the film another character makes a quick comment that the albino character was a misogynist, which somehow justifies their mockery – and the fact the character displays no misogynistic behaviour just infuriates at how they try to validate it. Regardless, a character is misogynistic and so deserves to be openly mocked about a condition which often leaves sufferers blind. Not a great way to live our lives.
The greatest thing a human being can do for another this year is to advise not to go and see The Heat, and that is this review’s advice.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★