Monday, July 01, 2013

Movie Review: Melissa McCarthy turns up "The Heat" as Hollywood's new queen of comedy

The adorable school teacher from the TV sitcom "Mike and Molly" was destined to be an audience charmer. Remember Melissa McCarthy as Molly? The one who fell in love with a policeman at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting.

If that's all you've seen of McCarthy's work before "The Heat", you are in for a shock. She reverses roles in this Friday's Hollywood release; she's in law enforcement now. As Detective Mullins in Paul Feig's film, McCarthy is in no danger of whispering sweet nothings in her lovers' ears. She curses and crushes; she plays Russian roulette with a suspect's balls. If lovable Molly's students were to see her now, they would be scarred for life.

Feig also directed McCarthy in the 2011 comedy "Bridesmaids". But that was a supporting role and in "The Heat", McCarthy shares top billing with Sandra Bullock.

And in case you were wondering why I haven't mentioned Bullock till now, that’s because McCarthy easily outshines America's sweetheart. Bullock is good (as usual) but McCarthy is better.

Bullock reprises her "Miss Congeniality" role as the hard-nosed loner FBI agent (although not going undercover as a beauty pageant contestant) in pursuit of a Boston drug lord. At stake is a promotion but first, she must team up with the irascible Mullins. The two don't see eye to eye on anything -- interrogation techniques, using curtains for windows or the edibility of week-old sandwiches.

Don't worry too much about the film's plot - it's predictable. It's an R-rated comedy and it's easy to see why. There're enough four-letter words (mostly courtesy McCarthy); a flashback to Bullock's bus-driving initiation in "Speed" (here, she rushes to the rescue of a diner choking in a restaurant); and bullets, blood and brotherhood to satisfy your Hollywood movie testosterone needs.

But who needs heroes? McCarthy and Bullock are an oddball pair with top-notch chemistry. "The Heat" pulled in $40 million at the North American box office this weekend and rumour has it work has begun on a sequel. And that's a movie I would watch.

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