The Heat Movie Poster Image

The Heat

Female buddy-cop comedy mixes humor, violence, drinking.
Popular with kidsParents recommend
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2013
  • Running Time: 117 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:June 28, 2013
DVD/Streaming release date:October 15, 2013
Cast:Melissa McCarthy, Sandra Bullock, Tony Hale
Director:Paul Feig
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Topics:Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:117 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:pervasive language, strong crude content and some violence

This review of The Heat was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Parent Written bymoviemaniac2 June 29, 2013

Disappointment rules

SO disappointed by Sandra Bullock and disgusted by Melisssa McCarthy.. the incredibly FOUL and RANK vulgar language overshadowed the entire movie..the story line was very typical -find the main drug dealing honcho..,, EVERY time McCarthy opened her mouth it was the F word and worse. I have no respect for her and will NEVER watch anything she appears in. Sandra--you disappoint me and my friends who saw the movie--I didn't know you were so desperate for a movie role that you would lower yourself to do such trash....maybe the public persona is just that--a persona. Will be much more careful in the future to really check out any movie you are starring in....just saying..
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 10 years old June 29, 2013


What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written bySean Broucek June 27, 2013

Funny, But Mature.

Parents, this raunchy and somewhat brilliant drugged-up action comedy from the acclaimed director of "Bridesmaids" is probably on your teen's radar, but the violence and drugs and language and sex makes it better for only mature teens and adults. There is bloody but comical combat, waterboarding, interrogation, stabbing, destruction of property, snapped necks, and knife ambushes. Sex includes brief graphic nudity (female genitals and breasts), seduction, many inappropriate sexual references throughout, and flashes of comedic sexual assault. Language includes f--k, s--t, d--k, c--t, a--hole, b-tch, c--k, c--ksucker, wh-re, d-mn and the "N" word towards African-American criminals. Pot use is also frequent. In the end, this mature and funny comedy is best left for old teens and adults. Rated R For Brief Graphic Nudity, Some Strong Sexuality, Pervasive Language, Violent Material & Drugs.