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Getting heated: review of The Heat

Taking on drug-dealing criminals and institutional Hollywood misogyny, all in one film. ****


How do you create a successor to the legendary female cast of Bridesmaids in 2011? With the return of director Paul Feig and actress Melissa McCarthy, that’s how. The Heat hit cinema screens earlier this month in a laugh out loud triumph, which has seen box office takings storm through $35,000,000 in the opening weekend alone. Set to be the funniest film of the year, the ingenious pairing of Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy has really raised the game for female duos in cinema.

The plot mirrors classic good cop/bad cop movies such as Lethal Weapon and 48 Hours, but has the impressive amendment of two female lead roles, proving that whatever men can do, women can certainly do too.

The mismatched pairing of the punctilious and painstakingly pedantic Ashburn (Bullock) certainly rivals the waywardness of maverick cop Mullins (McCarthy), and what begins as a hilariously incompatible alliance, ends in a surprisingly rather sincere and heartfelt friendship.

The plot itself is action packed, with dramatic car chases, a fridge filled to the brim with artillery and the take-down of drug dealing criminals in the destitute backstreets of Boston. However, perhaps the most brilliant thing about this film is the fact that it is all com, no rom! Even throughout the hilarity of Bridesmaids, we can’t forget that the plot remains focused on a wedding and the trials and tribulations of pursuing the right man. The Heat could not oppose this more. In fact, what we do see are two females fighting the institutional misogyny that is so commonly seen in Hollywood cinema.

One of the best things about this film is that it takes a step in the right direction for levelling the playing field of gender roles in cinema. All you need to do is look at other action packed films released in cinemas this month, such as World War Z and Man of Steel, to see that cinema is still hugely dominated by men. It’s a shame we still perceive two lead women in an action movie as controversial, but as Feig told the BBC, “we are definitely breaking down walls”. Perhaps, then, its only downfall is the hypocritical marketing campaign, which sees McCarthy so heavily airbrushed on film posters that she is almost unrecognisable.

Personally, I have no doubt in saying that it’s the funniest film I have seen in 2013 – so much so that I would even welcome the prospect of a sequel. We have not seen enough of this comedy duo!

A hilarious, laugh out loud film!



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