White House Down
July 4, 2013
The Heat (**) R
If you’re a member of the movie-going public who thinks that such Sandra Bullock projects as Mrs. Congeniality 1 and 2 and The Proposal are grand comedic entertainment then you’re probably the perfect candidate for The Heat, the actress’ latest foray into this type of territory. For the more jaded segment of the movie-going audience, however, I have a feeling that The Heat will be an entirely matter altogether.
Those who have admired Bullock over the years, watching her exercise her acting chops in such pics as A Time to Kill, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Blind Side, know that she’s an actress who can rise to the occasion even if the material proves to be a bit lackluster at times. In The Heat, Bullock, paired with Melissa McCarthy, the go-to girl in films like this these days, does what she can but it’s clear her that she isn’t capable of working miracles. It also doesn’t help matters that McCarthy’s onscreen bull in a china shop persona is wearing awfully thin. I mean, honestly, how many times are audiences going to line up to see her play the same slovenly, over the top character? It serves McCarthy well in limited amounts, i.e., Bridesmaids, but is awfully hard to take when she is forced to be the co-lead in something like The Heat.
As I’m sure you have ascertained from the theatrical trailer of The Heat, which feels like it’s been playing on a loop for the last six months, the film deals with a by the numbers federal agent, Sarah Ashburn (Bullock) who is sent to Boston to apprehend a drug lord and stop the next shipment.
Bullock & McCarthy in the buddy flick The Heat
Ashburn is paired with slovenly local cop, Shannon Mullins (McCarthy) and they go through the usual comedic set pieces one might expect in such proceedings. Most of the jokes have a predictable rhythm and an even more predictable punch line. I saw many of them coming miles in advance but perhaps fans of McCarthy and Bullock will be more forgiving than I was. The two actresses do their best but the material just doesn’t do them justice and I fear will do even more damage to McCarthy as it doesn’t allow her to grow or stretch as a performer.
The biggest surprise about the film is that it’s directed by Paul Feig, the same guy who delivered the monstrous 2011 hit Bridesmaids. It leads me to believe that Feig is only as good as his script—Bridesmaids was co-written by the film’s star Kristen Wiig—since this film is nowhere near as entertaining as his previous project. I’m sure that fans of the film’s two stars will line up for The Heat and that it will do respectable business but will they leave satisfied? I think that the audience deserves more than what The Heat is able to give them.
White House Down PG-13
By Jake Coyle
AP Entertainment Writer
Staggeringly implausible, cartoonishly comical, Roland Emmerich’s latest summer spectacle is refreshingly dumb. Refreshing because carefree action absurdity, once the province of the summer cinema, is on the outs. Solemnity—even for caped, flying men in tight-fitting trousers—is in. Emmerich’s film follows Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen, released in March, as the second movie this year to imagine an assault on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The two films are very similarly plotted, but this, with Jamie Foxx as president, is notably less serious. It’s most entertaining as a simple, ludicrous buddy movie with Foxx and his rescuer, Channing Tatum’s wannabe Secret Service agent. They flee across the White House grounds, Die Hard-style, eluding a gang of assailants led by a bitter turncoat (James Woods).
Channing Tatum & Jamie Foxx in White House Down
Tatum has reached the level of movie stardom that he can breeze through such a blatantly silly film. Toned and goofy, his charm carries the movie. If Emmerich (Independence Day) had pushed the farce further, the overlong romp could have been something special, but the comedy in James Vanderbilt’s screenplay only comes in spurts. Still, there’s an inarguable, senseless pleasure in watching Foxx, as president, kick a terrorist in the face and shout: ``Get your hands off my Jordans!’’ Hail to the chief, indeed. Two stars out of four.
The Heat and White House Down are at the Carmike in Hickory, and in wide release in this area.
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