The Heat

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Heat Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Female buddy-cop comedy mixes humor, violence, drinking.
  • R
  • 2013
  • 117 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 21 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 59 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Amid the violence and crude content is the idea that friendship and loyalty are important, especially among law enforcement officers who put their lives in danger and must depend on each other. The two main characters are initially quite hostile, but they eventually learn to trust each other.

Positive Role Models & Representations

At first, neither of the main characters seems like a positive role model: They're unfriendly, condescending, and hostile to just about everyone around them -- and even worse to each other. But eventually, they start to bond with each other, and their friction becomes a strong bond of loyalty. They also slowly reveal the events in their past that led to them having such tough exteriors, and, in the process, they begin to come out of those shells. They end up being great friends who are recognized for their good work. Many jokes are made at an albino character's expense.


Much of the violent content is presented with a comedic tone, and it's not constant, but several scenes show a police officer beating up suspects, sometimes to subdue drug dealers attempting to avoid arrest and sometimes during interrogations when she hits suspects who are handcuffed and helpless, even threatening to shoot them. A gangster executes another man by shooting him in the head at close range. Crime scene photos show murder victims' dismembered corpses. Another criminal stabs a FBI agent and then slowly prepares to do much worse with a wicked assortment of knives. One scene shows blood all over a character's hands/forearms.


Plenty of sexual references. One of the main characters often discusses her history of brief sexual flings, while the other talks about her total lack of a romantic life. In one scene a woman kisses a man passionately but comedically. Another scene involves a cop trying to seduce a perp by dressing sexy and throwing her body against his. One brief sequence shows her in her bra while getting drunk at a bar.


One of the main characters is extremely profane, punctuating nearly every sentence with all manner of swear words, including "s--t," "f--k," "d--k," "ass," "t-ts," "a--hole," "hell," "damn," "crap," "oh my God," "goddamn," and more. The other character is the exact opposite, unable to utter even the mildest curse words ... until the last section of the film, when she undergoes something of a character transformation that has a significant impact upon her vocabulary. A character uses the word "retarded" to insult someone's intellect. There are also jokes about albinism.


Some products are visible on screen, including people drinking Coke, using a BlackBerry, and driving a Chevrolet or Volvo.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some scenes show people drinking in bars, including one extended sequence involving two women who drink several shots, followed by numerous beers and other drinks during an all-night bender that shows them getting completely wasted. Some characters smoke cigarettes, and others smoke joints. The plot of the film features two officers attempting to bring down a drug lord, so there are many scenes showing mid-level dealers and their wares.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Heat stars Sandra Bullock as an uptight FBI agent who's forced to team up with an irritating Boston cop played by Melissa McCarthy to take down a mysterious drug lord. In this mismatched-buddy comedy directed by Bridesmaids' Paul Feig, the duo must learn to work as a team despite their initial distrust and hostility. But messages about friendship and loyalty come with a heaping serving of crude, violent content, including sexual references, a cop beating helpless suspects, an execution, photos of dismembered bodies, and more. There's also tons of swearing ("s--t," "f--k," and more), as well as scenes with drug use (pot) and very heavy drinking. A character uses the word "retarded" to insult someone's intellect and there are jokes about albinism.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byParent 12345 July 30, 2020

Hilarious adult comedy

To much language
To much violence
Sexual references
A lot of drinking
Adult Written byParent 123 July 29, 2020

The heat 2013

To much swearing one totally drunk scene and it shows that teamwork is brilliant
Kid, 11 years old January 23, 2021

One of the best films i've ever watched. A masterice.

The heat is hilarious, though rude. There is ALOT of swearing; Melissa McCarthy's charater uses a swear word in almost every sentence, Sandra's charac... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byAliphulupus June 28, 2013

Funny comedy has gore, swearing and violence

This movie is a comedy about two cops who have to join together to catch one main bad guy. One swears ALOT while the other one is kinda against swearing until t... Continue reading

What's the story?

Sarah Ashburn (Sandra Bullock) is an effective FBI agent who irritates everyone around her. Shannon Mullins (Melissa McCarthy) is a Boston cop who's angry at everyone around her. Together, they make a truly terrible team, but they're forced to work together to take down a mysterious drug lord. That is, if they can avoid killing each other first in THE HEAT, from Bridesmaids director Paul Feig.

Is it any good?

The Heat takes a typically male genre -- the buddy-cop action movie -- and turns it on its head, serving up a hilarious, if predictable, contribution to the genre. The film's best assets are its leads, who share an easy, believable rapport, even if they're very different.

What's groundbreaking here is that the differences between the two main characters aren't the obvious ones -- don't expect any low blows about McCarthy's weight or the usual NYC-versus-Boston rivalry. Instead, Ashburn and Mullins are allowed complexities unique to them, so they're interesting. Don't expect the crime detection part to be anything more than paint-by-numbers. But since The Heat gives us the fantastic duo that is Bullock and McCarthy, we'll cut it some slack.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about whether the main characters seem realistic. Are they caricatures? Does it make sense that they would eventually become devoted friends?

  • How do Ashburn and Mullins compare to the cop duos in other classic films? Does it make much difference that they're both female?

  • How does the movie portray drinking and drug use? Are there realistic consequences? Do you think there have to be in a comedy aimed at older teens and adults?

  • How does the violence in this movie compare to what you might see in movies more focused on action than comedy? Does the movie's tone change the impact of the content?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love comedies

Themes & Topics

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