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The Heat (2013)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 10/15/2013

All Ratings out of

Review by Mike Long, Posted on 10/23/2013

The modern-day buddy cop movie has become so ubiquitous that it's difficult to remember a time when it wasn't around. Movies like 48 Hrs., Beverly Hills Cop, and Lethal Weapon laid the ground-work for a sub-genre where two law enforcement officers who have different approaches and/or personalities are force to work together. This even lead to off-beat entries like The Hidden and Men in Black. At a time when the buddy-cop movie is nearly D.O.A., it's high time for someone to breathe new life into the genre. Unfortunately, The Heat is not that movie.

The Heat introduces us to Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock), a tightly-wound FBI Agent who works in New York. Highly competitive and often condescending, she's disliked by her co-workers. When her boss is promote, Sarah is told that she could take his place if she could prove herself. She's sent to Boston to investigate a drug lord named Larkin. Once there, Sarah interrogates a prisoner, only to learn that he was arrested by Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), a brash Boston PD detective who does things her own way. Mullins is a foul-mouthed slob, but she always gets her man. After their initial confrontation, the two realize that they each have good information, and thus, must work together. As Mullins tries to get Sarah to loosen up, Sarah attempts to make Mullins more professional. Despite their bickering, they are able to put together some clues and take out some of Larkin's underlings. But, they've now attracted the attention of the bad guys and they must avoid danger in order to crack the case.

The obvious thing which sets The Heat apart from other buddy cop movies is that it has two females in the lead. One could hypothesize that the movie was actually meant to feature the traditional male actors, save for the fact that the script comes from Katie Dippold, a veteran TV writer making her feature film debut here. She must have studied the genre, as she manages to get every buddy cop cliche into the movie. And I mean every single one. The movie plays the "opposites attract" theme to the hilt, as Sarah is buttoned-up and cold, while Mullins is a slob who says whatever is on her mind. At first, the two butt heads, but they then realize that they have to work together. Following a scene in which they earn one another's trust, there is a bonding moment. Then, the trust is broken again, only to be resolved in the end. If you've ever seen a buddy cop movie, then you've seen the story which is in The Heat.

As The Heat is a comedy which is following the blueprint of a genre, I would love to say that it's a spoof or satire of buddy cop movies, but it isn't. This is a genuine comedic-action film in which everything is played straight...in comedic terms that is. The Heat comes from Director Paul Feig, who also brought us the criminally over-rated Bridesmaids. As with that film, the movie runs too long. (The scary part is that, as you'll see below, the bulk of the extras are deleted moments, so the movie could have easily been 3-4 hours!) I know that everyone loves Sandra Bullock, but I'm not sure if she was the right choice for this role. In all of her comedies, "Sandy" gives the appearance of being kooky, but if you really examine her performance, you can tell that she's always maintaining a certain level of control which keeps her from being lost in the role. This really stands out in The Heat when she's placed next to McCarthy, who is laying it out there in every scene.

So, here's the bottom-line on The Heat: As an action-comedy, it is not a good movie, as it brings nothing new to the genre. Feig doesn't seem to be in control and Bullock doesn't do the movie any favors. Now, he comes the weird part -- I found myself laughing out loud at this movie...a lot. Why? Because of Melissa McCarthy. As you may remember, she worked with Feig in Bridesmaids, where she played the oddly masculine, yet over-sexed character, which did absolutely nothing for me. Here, she's playing a character who is all id. She has no emotional filter, she will insult people, but she also is a devoted cop and partner. McCarthy has been given all of the best lines in the film and she nails every one of them. Her performance required me to rewind certain scenes, as I missed the line after her joke due to the fact that I was laughing so hard. Comedy is often in the eye of the beholder and The Heat is a perfect example of a movie which doesn't work on many levels, but it's main goal is to be funny and it does that very, very well.

The Heat's family dinner scene runs a close second to the one in She's Out of My League on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 21 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing only a hint of grain and no defects from the source material. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The depth is OK, but the image does look a bit flat in some shots. Likewise, the picture leans to the soft side at times, which affects the level of detail. The video is solid, but I've seen better. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The stereo effects work well and show good separation -- we get a nice amount of action when things move across the screen. The surround sound effects really come into play during the nightclub scene, enveloping us in sound. This same scene, and the action sequences, bring the subwoofer into the mix.

The Heat Blu-ray Disc contains a surprising amount of extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Director Paul Feig. This is followed by a second COMMENTARY with Melissa McCarthy, Feig, Michael McDonlad, Katie Dippold, Jesse Henderson, and Adam Ray. A third COMMENTARY has Feig, along Gina (Jessica Chaffin), Beth (Jamie Denbo), Mr. Mullins (Michael Tucci) and Mrs. Mullins (Jane Curtin), who stay in character for some of the talk. We then get a fourth COMMENTARY with the original lineup from Mystery Science Theater 3000, Joel Hodgson, Kevin Murphy, and Trace Beaulieu. "Mullins Family Fun" (9 minutes) is a reel of outtakes and alternate lines from the various scenes with Shannon's family. "Acting Master Class" (8 minutes) delivers a series of outtakes from the bar bonding scene with McCarthy and Bullock. We get a reel of unused prat-falls and head-hits in "Let's Get Physical" (7 minutes). "Police Brutality" (7 minutes) unleashes McCarthy in a series of extra takes. "Von Bloopers" (16 minutes) is a simple blooper reel, which seems quaint after all of the other outtakes we've seen thus far. "Supporting Cast Cavalcade" (8 minutes) brings us a number of extra takes featuring some of the minor characters. "All the Stuff We Had to Take Out But Still Think is Funny" offers eleven DELETED SCENES which run about 10 minutes, twelve EXTENDED SCENES which run about 15 minutes, and four ALTERNATE SCENES which run about 4 minutes. "How The Heat Was Made" (20 minutes) contains a nice amount of on-set footage and comments from the cast and the creative team who discuss the story, characters, and production. We see some stunts and there is a focus on the Mullins family. We get yet another audio track which was recorded at the film's premiere, in which we get to hear the audience's reactions (?).

Review Copyright 2013 by Mike Long