The Big Screen: Bullock, McCarthy pack 'Heat,' laughs

July 4, 2013 

When we watch a buddy-cop action comedy, we aren't in it for the story. The set-up is already built into our brains: an odd couple despises one another but eventually becomes inseparable. The duo's boss will probably throw them off the case for going rogue. There is either a violent drug lord or a ruthless terrorist threatening the city; and at least one car chase down a busy avenue, which may or may not end in an epic shootout. "The Heat" is no different.

"The Heat" is well aware of its limitations, and knows that what is really important is the chemistry of lead actors Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock. They have incredible comedic timing, are unselfish co-stars and can balance both physical comedy as well as wonderfully crafted dialogue.

Bullock plays FBI agent Ashburn, a straight-edged professional who follows protocol religiously. She is so disliked by her co-workers, she is denied a much-anticipated promotion. Her boss (Demian Bichir) insists that she learn to work with others, so she is sent to Boston to work on a case that involves a shady drug cartel leader.

She's paired with Boston detective Mullins, a loud and offensive McCarthy. She curses like a stereotypical Bostonian, and her family speaks with such strong accents we strain to understand her brother when he asks Ashburn if she's a "knock" (narc).

If there is one thing they do have in common, its competition. From interrogating a suspect to searching a criminal's home, everything becomes a hilarious game of one upsmanship. And Bullock and McCarthy have such divergent styles of comedy that the fit will easily transform itself into franchise material.

What could have been a comedy that fell into a tired formula is taken to hilarious heights by it's two leads. It's one of the funniest movies of the summer.

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