Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Heat

The post-summer days are often among the worst for dedicated moviegoers. Anything the studios thought had any promise was dropped in the summer. Pre-holiday fall is for movies they didn't want cluttering up the summer docket but aren't likely award winners. And horror flicks.

When I first started taking The Boy with me to the movies pretty much whenever I went, it was October 2006. We saw Pan's Labyrinth, Flags of our Fathers and a great French film that I can't remember the name of. (The Boy thinks it was Indigenes but that didn't actually get released widely in the US until the following February.)

Anyway, it was a great fall. And memorable. 'cause you gotta go back seven years to find one that good.

Mostly you have your choice of dregs or second runs of films you avoided seeing during the summer.

Which brings us to The Heat. From director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids) and "MadTV" writer Kate Dippold, we have a comedy buddy cop movie starring Sandra Bullock as the uptight one and Melissa McCarthy as the slovenly one who doesn't play by the rules.

And, yeah, it's exactly as clichéd as it sounds but that's not a bad thing, necessarily, since it's primarily as a vehicle for jokes. Of which there are many, and even some that land.

The term in the critical canon that probably best applies here is uneven. Not in terms of which jokes land and which ones don't, but in terms of how seriously you're supposed to take things. Sometimes it presents itself as quasi-realistic, in that movie sense, while other times it's so absurd, you just can't take it as more than riffing on a set of a movie.

"Hey, wouldn't it be funny if stabbed her in the leg?"
"Yeah! Let's do it!"

At the same time, it's not an Airplane!-style movie, where the characters themselves are strictly gags. There are some tender moments. The girls, after hating each other, of course, finally bond, of course. They even lampshade it. Then later they bond again, for realsies. And then again at the end.

Lotta bonding.

I couldn't drag The Flower to see it. The Boy went in with very low expectations and so was pleasantly surprised. ("I didn't hate it.") It was, more or less, exactly what I thought it would be.

And that's okay.

It kind of reminds of Kevin Smith's Cop Out. It's not that uneven, but it still has that perfunctory paint-by-numbers feel, which in Smith's case was meant as an homage to the '80s buddy cop movie, while here is (as mentioned) just a device for joke delivery.

Like most of the summer's flicks, it's fine if you're good with turning your brain off.

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