Can The Heat Replicate Bridesmaids’ Success?

Slate's Culture Blog
Dec. 21 2012 8:45 AM

Can The Heat Replicate Bridesmaids’ Success?

The_Heat_still_Sandra_Bullock
Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in the trailer for The Heat.

Still from YouTube.

By this time a year and a half ago, all the talk in Hollywood was about whether Bridesmaids could become a hit. Could a comedy, especially a raunchy one, bring out the female demographic? The answer was clear: Bridesmaids made $288 million worldwide, surpassing anyone’s expectations, and became Judd Apatow’s biggest hit ever.

Of course, while writers at Salon and elsewhere declared seeing Bridesmaids a “social responsibility,” that’s not why so many people saw it. They saw it because, as Slate critic Dana Stevens put it, “it’s fucking hilarious.”

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Now breaking down the door comes The Heat, the new comedy vehicle for Sandra Bullock and criminal scene-stealer Melissa McCarthy. Just as Bridesmaids was declared a bromance with women, or a “homance,” The Heat is a buddy cop movie with women. Bullock plays the by-the-book stiff (i.e. the Murtaugh), and McCarthy plays the loose cannon (i.e. the Riggs). Throw in an extra dash of farce, à la surprise hit 21 Jump Street, and you’ve got The Heat.

I might not make a big deal out of all this, except the trailer not-so-subtly does: Not only does it declare right off the bat that it’s “from Paul Feig the director of Bridesmaids,” but nearly every punchline is in some way a sex-changed twist on an old buddy comedy standby. For example, the explosive button, in an addition to being a classic action movie one-liner, is also a riff on “put a ring on it.” To top it all off, the whole preview is set to M.I.A.'s monster girl power anthem "Bad Girls."

But will it be “fucking hilarious”? It’s tough to compare any comedy to Bridesmaids, but so far I’d say the evidence here is strong.

Forrest Wickman is a Slate staff writer. 

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