Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Heat (Rhoades)

“The Heat”
Is Re-Heated

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

Aside from her Oscar-winning role in “The Blind Side,” Sandra Bullock often appears in silly comedies. One of her more popular movies was “Miss Congeniality,” a farce where she’s an undercover FBI agent in the Miss United States beauty pageant, trying to prevent a bombing while wobbling about in high heels.
“Miss Congeniality” was funny. And it earned over $200 million. So in Hollywood logic, she did a sequel, “Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous.” It only did half as well, but that was okay.
Now, eight years later, Bullock needed a new idea. Putting the best Hollywood minds on the case, they came up with this: How about a movie where she plays a bumbling FBI agent?
But so it won’t seem too familiar, why not team her up with someone very different from her -- someone like Melissa McCarthy?
Thus, we have “The Heat.”
Bullock got $10 million to do the movie. Up-and-comer McCarthy was a bargain at $2.5 million.
Bullock plays a straight-arrow FBI agent who is teamed up with McCarthy, a slovenly overweight Boston cop. Forget the fat jokes, their oil-and-water shtick is enough to keep you laughing.
“The Heat” is currently (ahem) heating up the screen at Tropic Cinema.
Known as America’s Sweetheart, Bullock plays against type. Here’s she’s a loner FBI agent whom nobody likes. And McCarthy is a mean-spirited cop who ticks everybody off. For this “comedy with crime” they are assigned to work together as a team.
You can take it from there, if you throw in a lot of crude jokes and physical stunts designed to make you laugh out loud. The mission is to take down a Russian drug lord. But the movie is really about a two-losers-becoming-friends relationship.
 “I’ve always wanted to do a female buddy film, the kind the guys get to do,” Sandra Bullock says. “This didn’t have anything to do with getting a guy, and it didn’t involve shoe shopping …”
The odd-couple pairing was a good choice. As Bullock explains, “I’d seen ‘Bridesmaids’ and I said, ‘If Melissa McCarthy wants to work with me…’”
McCarthy responds to her co-star, “Before I knew you—don’t listen, I don’t want you to get cocky—I was asked in an interview who I thought was funny, and I said you … I love to watch someone who just goes for it and isn’t worried about whether it’s silly or awkward or unflattering.”
The film’s director Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “Knocked Up”) notes that the two stars became inseparable. “Normally after movies, those friendships go away. Theirs blossomed.” These days Bullock and her son Louis regularly hang out with McCarthy, her actor husband Ben Falcone, and their two daughters. It’s a much smoother relationship than portrayed in “The Heat.”
As Bullock puts it, “Having kids connected us on a deeper level. And the things we’re obsessed with outside of being a mom are the same, too: construction and house renovation. We’re kindred spirits in that world.”
Okay, we get it. They like each other -- on and off screen.
As for “The Heat,” fan reaction is mixed. One moviegoer said, “This looks like a Razzie nomination to me!” Bullock is no stranger to that dubious award.
Another proclaimed, “I saw ‘The Heat’ at an advanced screening and I can tell you it’s a very good and funny film.”
Still another adds this prospective: “Guys have dominated buddy movies for so long; it’s nice to see variety and multiple-dimensional characters for women.”

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