The Heat

Congratulations to Melissa McCarthy for making a hilarious movie! Congratulations to Sandra Bullock for giving McCarthy all the room she needs to do her funny business in The Heat.

Bullock follows in the tradition of TV’s Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano and Andy Griffith, all of who were title stars of their sitcoms, but depended on zany sidemen and women to bring the biggest laughs. Bullock brings her considerable charm and infinite likeability to the screen, but Melissa McCarthy as Boston cop Shannon Mullen is the reason to see The Heat.

McCarthy, whose other lead role this year in Identity Thief led to a healthy gross of $135 million, will sell lots of tickets to The Heat with her raunchy, f-bomb-laced riffs and shameless physical humor.

Melissa McCarthy’s agility for a woman of her size is amazing. And her delivery of scriptwriter Katie Dippold’s lines is natural and organic—I’d guess she was given freedom to ad-lib by director Paul Fieg. He also directed Bridesmaids.

By the way, I was told that Bullock claims there are 196 f-bombs in the film.

Bullock as FBI special agent Ashburn is a smug, tightly-wound type A detail person. McCarthy as Mullen is loose, spontaneous and wild. There’s instant animosity between the two. Both are territorial and neither wants to relinquish control.

Bonding takes a while. They share a mutual dislike for not only drug dealers, but also for a pair of DEA agents. As they learn each other’s personal backstories, there’s a bit of sympathy to be shared.

This action/comedy has some grit: people get tied up, shot, stabbed, etc. There’s a pretty good chase scene. It’s rated R and rightly so.

The opening title sequence has a 70’s graphic look and features the song Fight The Power by the Isley Brothers.

The studio (and, presumably, test audiences) liked this movie so much that its release was pushed back from April to late June—a more lucrative, but also more competitive time of year for film box office success. Also, it’s rumored that a sequel is already in the works.

The Heat will make you laugh. And if laughter is what you want and need, don’t miss it.

 

 

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“Extremely Loud and Dangerously Close” [And Slightly Manipulative]

ELADC engages in trickery. First off, we are tricked into expecting a Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock movie—wrong! Yes, they are in the movie, but just a bit. It’s not really their movie; ELADC is really about the kid.

The kid is Oskar, played by the precocious Thomas Horn. Horn is one of the best kid actors since Haley Joel Osment amazed us in “The Sixth Sense.” His character is charming, articulate, intelligent, sweet and likeable. He’d better have all those qualities, because he’s in practically every scene.

The movie is manipulative in that Oskar’s dad (Tom Hanks) is killed in the terrorist attacks on 9/11. We hear his voicemail messages. We see images of the burning WTC buildings. Having seen replays of the event—and revisited some of the emotions of that fateful day—on the recent 10th anniversary of the attacks, we are primed to have a stronger emotional empathy for Oskar and his quest. I blame the novelist (on whose book the script is based) for tying this story to 9/11.

Oskar finds a key that had been apparently hidden away by his late father. He then begins a quest to find out who the key belongs to and its significance. The story of the quest would’ve been just as compelling without the 9/11 connection. (But maybe not so marketable. I call “cheap manipulation.”)

When the story is finally resolved, cue the tear ducts.

Oskar is a kid you want to hug and maybe even tousle his hair. Thomas Horn’s performance is excellent. But the story, to my sensibilities, falls short. (My wife, on the other hand, loved this movie.)

Also in the movie are Sandra Bullock as Oskar’s mom, Max Van Sydow as his “grandfather” and John Goodman as his building’s doorman.