The Heat

The Heat

2013, R, 117 min. Directed by Paul Feig. Starring Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demián Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport, Michael McDonald.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., June 28, 2013

Director Paul Feig was savvy to re-enlist breakout star Melissa McCarthy for his follow-up to their 2011 smash Bridesmaids: She’s the best thing in this amiable but routine action-comedy about a mismatched law enforcement pair trying to bring down a Boston drug lord.

Sandra Bullock plays Ashburn, an FBI special agent who is brilliant, by-the-book, and abhorred by her colleagues for her superior airs and prim mouth (“bull feces!” is about as demonstrative as she gets in the face of adversity). McCarthy’s Mullins, on the other hand, is a Boston detective who is vulgar, slovenly, and quick to invective-riddled outrage. Settling comfortably into types familiar to them, McCarthy and Bullock embody a tetchy yin and yang that – predictably – will meet on middle ground.

Feig, who has shone on the small screen directing innovative comedies like The Office and Arrested Development (he also created Freaks and Geeks), is not a natural with action; one car chase around the streets of Boston rather feels like a series of molasses-slow left turns. Similarly, first-time feature screenwriter Katie Dippold (a writer/co-producer on TV’s Parks & Recreation) has no knack for dramatizing police work. And for two supposedly genius dispensers of law and order, Ashburn and Mullins sure leave a lot of dead bodies in their wake, in oafish jolts of violence as ill-fitting as the film’s few whiffs of teary drama.

Oh, but more often than not The Heat is just stupid-funny, which circles us back to McCarthy, motor-mouthing four-letter fury like an operatic aria. She sells Mullins as delightfully unhinged and fairly radiating with rage, and it’s irresistible. To the producers, too: Word is, a sequel is already in the works.

More Paul Feig
Tough Crowd
Tough Crowd
The setup: 21 depressives, neurotics, and social misfits walk into a book. Meet comedy's all-stars.

Kimberley Jones, July 3, 2009

More Paul Feig
AFF2012: A Conversation With Paul Feig 
AFF2012: A Conversation With Paul Feig 
'Freaks and Geeks' creator looks back

Leah Churner, Oct. 22, 2012

More Paul Feig Films
Controversy aside, this reboot fails to hit the mark

Kimberley Jones, July 15, 2016

The Paul Feig/Melissa McCarthy comedy onslaught continues with a Bond parody

Marc Savlov, June 5, 2015

More by Kimberley Jones
Justice League
Another ho-hum entry to the DC Extended Universe

Nov. 17, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express
You may want to cancel your ticket to this latest Christie adaptation

Nov. 10, 2017


The Heat, Paul Feig, Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, Demián Bichir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rapaport, Michael McDonald

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)