Monday, July 1, 2013

The Heat

Portland was in the 90s this week, so watching The Heat on Saturday was a welcome break from, well, the heat.  And I loved it for much more than the 3 hours of air conditioning--this movie was SO fun!  It's a vulgar summer action/comedy to be sure, but it's a GREAT vulgar summer action/comedy.  There were plenty of satisfying surprises, juicy jokes, and memeable moments.  Highly recommended.

The screenplay is by Katie Dippold, who has been a writer on Parks & Recreation since 2009.  Smart and hilarious buddy-cop / chick flick / blockbuster deconstructions abound.  Get thee to a theater if you haven't seen it yet.  If you have, read on for reaction comics~!

Since I often have to point out how movies FAIL to so much as pass the Bechdel Test, let's take this opportunity to celebrate and praise one that gets so many things right:

+Two developed, interesting, and different female protagonists
+Both have flaws and experience growth
+Neither is characterized solely by gender or romantic interest to another character
+Both have high levels of agency and specialized skill making them valuable in their work/life and allowing them to solve problems and resolve the film's conflict almost entirely on their own (the precision driving scene, all of the fight scenes, the torture scene, the scene where Ashburn responds to a potential home invader by seamlessly reaching for her concealed refreshing)
+Sisterhood / ladybroship / lady-collaboration as a central theme
+Oh hay, a coroner only in the move for 2 minutes who is female, not eye candy, good at her job, and speaks only with other women about work and helps them solve a problem?  What is happening?!
+Mullins taking a protective/leadership role in her family, giving tough love to her brother and doing what's right despite her family's ungrateful response

And the car explosion scene!  AAH!  I was so lulled by the drunken montage that I jumped in my seat!! xD I also liked the torture scene, because while that's normally incredibly creepy and gross, it was treated with this equal tone to the rest of the film, not sexualized or anything.  The characters are in REAL danger; they're being taken seriously by the villains and they have to be very clever and brave to get out of it.  Female protagonists aren't often injured in movies, and if they are it's used as a way to sideline them from the action and/or motivate another (usually male) protagonist, so seeing Ashburn get a knife in the leg (three times?  four??) and then keep crawling around and eventually take out the villain, it was SO great.  Just another nice surprise for me, seeing something turned on its head in a really satisfying way.
The knife stuff was even done in a laugh-out-loud funny way!

 And the baddie doesn't have one!  Did any of the baddies, come to think of it...??

Marlon Wayans you have the cutest wink I have ever seen.  Love that this possible romance was left open-ended.


 Also, Taran Killam you are the best twist villain.  I totally called this, because you hadn't spoken much in the movie yet, but still.  No less satisfying.

One thing I kept noticing was how great the pacing was.  We kept at a great, brisk clip throughout, and jokes that I expected would return again and again often only showed up the once (THANK YOU).  Some of my favorite jokes were the spoofs on cop procedurals, with Ashburn giving one-liners but then her cool exits being foiled, or the scene with Levy dishing the scoop on the location of the killings, and Ashburn and Mullins being decreasingly able to finish his sentences.  There was also this fantastic comedic tone where things could be very weird or awkward or just subvert expectations and not end in a predictable punchline.  Ashburn failing to save the choking victim was such a shock and a hysterical, unexpected scene!
Sooooo I'll be laughing about this movie for a good long time.

1 comment:

  1. My story:
    1. Omg omg this movie is sooo GREAT!
    2. I want to watch it with EVERYONE and spread the love!
    3. mfw I describe it to my friends, and the moment I say "It's a movie about two woman, that..." everyone loses interrest.

    I loved this movie for its wit, Mulins (I think I've became addicted to her), and the chemistry between the heroines.

    Also, your reviews are great!