A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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?
- In theaters: June 28, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: October 15, 2013
- Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Sandra Bullock, Tony Hale
- Director: Paul Feig
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
- Run time: 117 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: pervasive language, strong crude content and some violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.