Bridesmaids proved girls can be funny too and an all female ensemble comedy can be downright hilarious. It certainly didn’t leave audiences with the same boredom headache as the Hangover and clone sequels, and was a breath of fresh air. Two years later, Bridesmaids‘ director Paul Feig and breakout star Melissa McCarthy return and join forces with Sandra Bullock for an oestrogen-fuelled take on the buddy cop genre and bring The Heat.
Bullock plays Ashburn, a smart and efficient FBI agent, who’s self-assured attitude earns nothing but contempt from her peers. All work and no play; she may be able to sniff out drugs better than the Bureau’s canine but she goes home to the documentary channel and the neighbour’s cat. When a drugs case forces her to Boston, jurisdictional politics are the least of her concerns as she has to work with Mullins (McCarthy), a foul mouthed, un-PC and also ruthlessly efficient local law enforcer with serious authority issues.
Bridesmaids showcased the comedy talents of its cast and affirmed that dirty and sometimes gross-out comedies are not just for boys. It’s most memorable feature was McCarthy’s Megan who stole the show in every scene she was in. As a result, McCarthy is very much the main draw of this film and given absolute free reign. She is obnoxious, rude, sometimes disgusting, but always loveable. McCarthy is well on her way to becoming the queen of comedy.
Bullock is also no stranger to comedy as her résumé includes, amongst others, Miss Congeniality. This was another female-led comedy that was riotously funny and proved Bullock’s comic mettle. There is no doubt comparisons can be drawn between her two characters: both loner FBI agents. But unlike Miss Congeniality and Bridesmaids, gone is any semblance of the ‘rom’ element. The Heat is purely ‘com’. Make no mistake: these two women are funny and own it from the get-go.
However, anyone expecting Bridesmaids comedy will be disappointed. That’s not to say this isn’t funny. It’s a hoot. Just the dynamic is now two female cops and a drug dealer hunt; not six girls and a (what surely can be as equally violent and dangerous) wedding. The reduced main cast just means this is a sprint instead of a marathon; and whereas the former had consistent chuckles with different characters all the way through, The Heat has just its two leading ladies.
The gags though are as funny, if not more, and one particular bar scene will have the audiences in stitches. We’ve all had a drunken night out and been the only losers dancing, but not like this. The comedy at times can be a little more, shall we say, biting; and if you’re an easily offended albino, perhaps give it a miss. Unlike the rehashed Hangover sequel though, the laughs are fresh, fun and mostly unexpected.
Paul Feig has expressed his desire to ‘level the playing field’ when it comes to comedy and his last two feature films do just that. Unlike more male driven comedy, the humour comes from actually likeable and believable characters in relatable situations as opposed to OTT caricatures in a ridiculous set up. The laughs continue well after the gags are finished and start up again once you’ve shared a fleeting and recollecting glance with your friends next to you.
Feeling depressed now the weather is returning to sh*t? Get the pals together for BOGOF Wednesday, have a cheeky drink beforehand (heck, during if your cinema lets you) and see The Heat. Comedy at its best.