The Heat opens today, a standard buddy comedy about a loose cannon Boston cop (Melissa McCarthy, who everybody loves) and an uptight FBI nerd (Sandra Bullock, who many people dislike). I'm not a wholesale Bullock hater—yeah she's been in a million romcoms, but that was her job and she mostly did it just fine—but alongside McCarthy, who won everyone's heart in Bridesmaids (a romcom most definitely better and hipper than anything Bullock's ever done), she uh... kind of looks bad.
I hate to play into expectations, but this would have been a better flick without her. It's a fairly straightforward reproduction of every copper buddy flick ever (except, you know, women!), and it doesn't try to rock the boat with the bones of its plot or go into spoof territory; the action onscreen is just a backdrop for the interplay between the two characters as the go through the traditional motions of initial dislike, gradual bonding, and BFF sisters 4 life. Plus, Paul Feig directed it! Team Bridesmaids, right?
Well, it didn't quite go like that. This isn't a terrible movie, and if one were to worry less about an actor or director's work as it stands within the context of their history, I suppose it would be just fine (key word: "fine"). I'll give it props for not playing the "except they're girls!" angle too often (there's only one joke about Spanx), leaving good old personality conflict at the forefront where it belongs. It's just that when Bullock does comedy, it's like watching a robot with its skin peeling off. You can see the beeps and whirs inside, and it draws you out of the experience to think, "Look, she's doing the funny kind of acting now! Oh boy, she's doing it really, really hard now. She has obviously completed the related coursework."
Still if you're starved for McCarthy, she has some good moments. It's not a travesty or anything. Plus you may as well get used to it because Hollywood has already put The Heat 2 into motion. Full review here.