Rating: Isn’t vulgarity a priceless work of art if done with energy and style?
Simply stated, this is the best female buddy picture since Thelma and Louise (1991). It is vulgar, profane and frequently hysterical beyond words. It’s as if modern science developed a way to combine the DNA of Mae West and W.C. Fields, resulting in the glorious Melissa McCarthy.
Written by Katie Dippold, Director Paul Feig has brought us a delicious concoction that centers on a stressed out FBI agent and a maniacal Boston police officer. Sandra Bullock has never been better as the uptight federal agent, and Melissa McCarthy is the girl from another planet, a woman who views shame as a virtue.
Bullock’s agent, known as Ashburn, has been assigned to a Boston investigation by her New York superior simply to get her out of his hair. Desiring nothing but personal advancement, she has alienated all of her co-workers with her arrogance.
Unfortunately for her, she finds herself given Officer Mullins, Ms. McCarthy, as a partner. Israel and Hamas have more in common than these two ladies.
Put another way, Ashburn operates by the book and Mullins has never read it. In scene after scene, Ms. McCarthy explodes with a toxic venom. While arresting a man for patronizing a prostitute, she calls his wife on his cell phone while crushing his knuckles with the other hand. She threatens to shoot a drug suspect in the scrotum if he won’t answer questions, firing a couple empty rounds just to test his resilience.
While Ms. Bullock looks on in complete horror, Ms. McCarthy ups her comic ante at every turn. In particular, there is an unforgettable scene where Ms. McCarthy is forced to take Ms. Bullock to meet her estranged family. It seems that one of her brothers just got out of prison, while the others consistently pepper Ms. Bullock with such profound questions as, “Are you a man?” And when she gives the obvious answer, the next question is, “Did it happen at birth or did you have an operation?”;
But don’t make the mistake that this is simply a comedy, as our odd couple continually flirt with disaster as they try to identify their drug target. People die, which nearly includes our duo, but nothing is going to remotely stop McCarthy’s poisonous assaults on whoever is nearby, be they friend or foe.
Sure, as a lawyer it is sometimes difficult to overlook the ladies as they violate a citizen’s Constitutional rights. On the other hand, we all know that objections are routinely sustained in a Court of law, so I was more than willing to apply that same theory to our girls as they occasionally had to break in to an apartment without a warrant.
I must admit that I have never been a big fan of Ms. Bullock. While I recognize her contributions to Infamous (2006), where she played Harper Lee, and Crash (2004), where she played a role that was very un-Bullock-like, I can never forgive her Oscar-winning performance in The Blindside (2009). Suffice it to say that when she arrogantly approached that black gang in the inner city in a very tight skirt and 4 inch heels, telling them, “I’m packing heat”, I expected the next line in the movie to be a police dispatch that said, “white female down”.
Regardless, while Ms. Bullock is very good here, nothing compares to Ms. McCarthy. To use a favorite phrase, no one in the history of film, man or woman, has ever been this full of piss and vinegar. She is a walking volcano, eating poorly and dressing worse. Yet you can’t help but love her malicious intensity, and it is impossible to take your eyes off of her.