Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"'The Heat" - Business As Usual, But With Ladies"

I feel sorry for film critics.  First, they have to sit through a ton of garbage, (which, to me, explains why they often overpraise “okay” movies, simply because they don’t make the film critics want to shoot themselves in the head.) 

Second, sometimes, as above, the title is pretty much all you have to say about the movie, and your job requires you “delve deeper” by writing a full review, wherein you are relegated to saying the same thing in different ways until you fill up your allotted space and they pay you.

I saw “The Heat” at the Writers Guild Film Society, where, for a hundred dollars a year, members are provided with at least one film screening per week (for two people, so it breaks down to about a dollar a movie, which is often more than the movies we skip going to are worth.)  (Earlier the same day, the Film Society had screened The Lone Ranger, which I took a pass on, because I love The Lone Ranger and did not want to get my heart broken by an erstwhile pirate with a dead crow on his head.)  (This is how I pad this piece – with extraneous filler bordered in parentheses.)  (Although, come to think of it, I pretty much do that all the time.)  (As well as throwing in “come to think of its” just to squeeze in an extra four words.)  (And then fifteen more words as an explanation.)  (And then eight more words an explanation of the explanation.)  (And so forth.)

“The uptight cop paired with the loose cannon cop”, gender flipped, and seasoned with Apatovian salacity mixed with random interludes of medium-deep self-awareness.

Gentlemen, (or in this case, Gentlewomen), start your engines!

Oscar winner Sandra Bullock already played the uptight cop in Miss Congeniality One and Two, and Melissa McCarthy showed a big mouth (and solid improvising chops) in Bridesmaids, and the director Paul Feig (who directed Bridesmaids), being hot, could get anyone he wanted, so he picked the most obvious currently popular choices and they made the movie, using a pre-molded template, only this time, the protagonists aren’t Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte, or Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, (which I already said with “Business As Usual, But With Ladies”, so I was forced into repetition, but in a different, hopefully illuminating, manner.)

Early in the movie, my professional comedy sensors bristled, indicating that, although The Heat is credited a single screenwriter (Katie Dippold), there was a definite whiff of a “rewrite room”, where professional joke pitchers pepper the original screenplay with “punch up.” 

Why do I feel that way?  Because the comedy reflected various sensibilities.  Plus, especially at the early section of the film, the batting average of the bombardment of jokes was suspiciously higher than a single comic source could reliably deliver.  It smacked of a team effort.  (A contribution that went progressively downhill as the film wore on, possibly because the catered lunch that was brought in made the professional joke pitchers sleepy.)

The plot is the plot – something about drug dealers.  Stealing from, or “homaging” Beverly Hills Cop – the miscreants fool the specially trained police dog by distracting his drug-sensitive smeller with sausages, and, on a second occasion, with fish.  This led to my personal biggest laugh of the movie. 

It was the first time I had ever seen a look of embarrassment on a dog.  And it made me howl. 

(HIS TRAINER, FROM OFF CAMERA) “Look, ashamed, Rusty!  Look ashamed!”

And he did!

While I’m talking about what made me laugh, Sandra Bullock did some amusing physical work as a person with a badly injured leg trying to pull themselves into a wheelchair.

And while I’m mentioning the badly injured leg, the situation that caused that badly injured leg, more precisely, the situation that made that badly injured leg even more badly injured, was a move – one of the few in the movie – that I had never seen before.  (And actually didn’t see this time either, as, congenitally squeamish to the max, I characteristically wimpisly looked away.)

The rest of it was yawningly familiar, from other movies, many of them better.  You want to talk about plot loopholes?  I don’t.  But there were a number of them.  It seems to me they could have stopped pitching jokes for just a second to ask,

“How did Sandra Bullock know where the warehouse was, allowing her to arrive just in time to rescue her partner?”

I would have asked that.  Which is possibly why I was not invited to the rewrite room. 

But hey…

It’s summer. 

And for summer, The Heat confidently, and capably, hits the spot. 

The one question I have left is this one, which is likely to weigh this whole thing down and expose me as the closet sexist many already believe me to be. 

Men talk dirty and act stupid, and I don’t care for it.  Why should I like it any better when women do it?

It’s a parody, Earlo.

No it isn’t.  It’s just naarishkeit (childish behavior) from people who shop at a different store.

I think I just hit my quota.

Thank you, and good night.


Mac said...

If you were a sexist, wouldn't you more likely make an exception for one gender when it comes to acting stupid and talking dirty? Or find it worse coming from one gender over another? Equality means not liking it from either.

That apart, I dunno about talking dirty but acting stupid is the way to great riches, as Grown Up's 2 has just topped the weekend BO. I'd have thought Grown Up's 1 would have sated the 'acting-stupid' demand, but it appears to be limitless.

Zaraya said...

Dear Mr. Pomerantz; I am sorry to read that you did not like "The Heat". My opinion of it was formed by the trailers, a series of unrelated gags pulled from the Trope Trunk. Thank you for taking one for the team and confirming what I initially thought.