EVERYONE WANTS IT to happen again: When Paul Feig directed 2011's Bridesmaids it was an almost-perfect storm. Intelligent female-driven comedy in a package that wisely chose not to overreach, it humbly setting new precedents of quality in the mainstream romantic comedy genre, owing much of its success to a stellar cast of hilarious women like Melissa McCarthy. With rapid-fire delivery and a knack for the slightly unhinged, there's little not to love about McCarthy—but the wait for her next worthy vehicle continues to stretch on.
The Heat has a number of encouraging indicators going for it, reuniting McCarthy and Feig for an homage to the good cop/bad cop buddy flick formula, with McCarthy in a starring role alongside... Sandra Bullock? Feig's last film took some of its brilliance from the natural acuity with which his actresses interacted. Bullock, by contrast, has a strong tendency to overact comedic scenes to the extent that it pulls you out of the film completely to marvel at how hard she's hitting it with a hammer.
The film has its virtues: McCarthy gets in some good jabs as slovenly loose cannon Officer Mullins, firing off an impressive spray of "fuck"-laden threats at all who dare cross her. The script, by Katie Dippold, doesn't lean egregiously on "it's funny because they're women" jokes, either, leaving most of it to the time-honored buddy tradition of clashing personalities.
In fact, the entire plot can only succinctly be described as a generic facsimile of the genre, but for the fact that its central relationship is between to women. But since it doesn't outright parody it, nor does it make too much hay about the injection of female energy, what we're left with are a few good laughs, a few awkward scenes, and a film that never quite commits to an angle.