Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a press conference with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy, stars of the new comedy hit The Heat, as well as the film's writer, Katie Dippold (Parks & Recreation) and its almost embarrassingly accomplished director, Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, Freaks & Geeks, The Office, the list goes on).
As I arrived, Bullock was just inside the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton saying hello to a woman who had apparently been hanging around to meet-and-greet her. She is pencil-thin and model-gorgeous in person, and was graciously trying to get the woman to stop standing in the heat (ironically) for hours to see her.
The other Heat, the movie, is about two law-enforcement officers (Bullock and McCarthy) who have to learn to work together in order to bust a major drug ring, one that has ensnared McCarthy's no-good brother. McCarthy's character is tenacious, completely not by-the-book, violent, blunt, devious. Somehow, she makes her likable in a way she failed to do with her Identity Theft character. Bullock plays an uptight FBI agent whose prowess on the job doesn't lead to promotions because she's annoying. You'd have to be pretty annoying for it to hold you back in the FBI, but she really is. And like McCarthy, she nimbly makes annoying likable.
I could almost have gone with the movie—how often do you see a movie in which a white cop beats a black culprit with a watermelon, only to have it turn into a knowing mini-rant about how it's racist?—if only the construct weren't so formulaic; the performances are enough to make it fun, and I wouldn't be surprised nor would I be judgmental if most viewers ate the whole thing up.