Astrology: Film: ‘The Heat’ (2013)

20th Century Fox

There’s nothing like the hint of a job promotion to fuel a worker’s desire to impress the boss. In Paul Feig’s female-buddy comedy The Heat, FBI agent Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) finds herself in exactly that situation.

The maniacally professional and book-smart Ashburn’s ascent up the corporate ladder is now tied to her nailing a drug kingpin, a case that’s being co-worked by local Boston law enforcement. Ashburn’s success at this endeavor will rest heavily on the capability of her new partner, Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy), an alarmingly efficient, vulgar and not-so-by-the-book cop whose incessant flow of profanities comes as naturally as inhaling. The duo seriously repel each other.

What follows – a gradual loosening up of Ashburn by means of the take-no-prisoners protocol of Mullins, and each partner’s increasingly rhythmic anticipation of the other’s needs – may be predictable. Where The Heat surprises is in its sweet look at the family archetype, ruled by the Moon.

Mullins’s mother and siblings – they strongly evoke a street-gang with two brothers’ foul-mouthed girlfriends thrown in for good measure – have marginalized Mullins for having turned in her drug-using brother, Jason (Michael Rapaport), who winds up doing jail time. In contrast, Ashburn is so lonely that she pretends the neighbor’s cat, which periodically wanders into her domicile via a window, is hers.

Each woman – the self-contained Ashburn, with a sadder childhood than she lets on, and the bravado-suffused Mullins – is ripe for an emotional connection. Guess who’ll serve each gal as a surrogate sister?

Astrology Film Rating: ☽ (Moon)

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