Ever hear a word so often that it practically loses its shock value? That's exactly what happens in The Heat, and it's unfortunate to say the least. The considerable good will that Bullock and McCarthy generate as comediennes goes out the window when nearly every other word is an expletive. It’s not that you expect these characters to abide by a Christian moral code, but the absence of good taste in how McCarthy's character speaks is still appalling... and unnecessary.

It's undoubtedly progress when women are starring in comedies that don't involve playing the girlfriend or attending a lavish wedding by the time the credits roll. It's even more noteworthy that The Heat’s leading ladies are the age (Bullock and McCarthy are both in their 40s) where women are commonly classified as "too old" by Hollywood standards, so kudos to the filmmakers for that.

But for all those steps forward, one still can’t help hoping the laughs could be a little classier in the future. After all, the actors themselves, not to mention the audience, deserve better.

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):

  • Drugs/Alcohol: Social drinking, sometimes to excess. Illegal drugs, particularly cocaine, figure prominently into the plot.
  • Language/Profanity: Just shy of 200 f-bombs, plus equally enthusiastic use of God's name paired with da--. Other profanities, including he--, bit--, da--, motherfu---- and sh--, are scattered throughout. At first, Bullock's character stops short of spouting off an expletive (just "f" for fu-- or "motherf" for motherfu----), but by the end she starts sounding a little like her new partner.
  • Religion: One of the film's running jokes involves a series of odd paintings where Jesus is winning various sporting events.
  • Sex/Nudity: Crude references/jokes involving male/female genitalia and on one occasion, oral sex. A married man/father of five is arrested while trying to solicit a prostitute. Mullins calls the man's wife who isn’t the least bit surprised by the news because he's done it before. The typically buttoned-up Ashburn unsuccessfully tries to seduce a perp in a club. Some discussion of Mullins' previous sexual exploits and Ashburn's lack thereof.
  • Violence: A character is stabbed in the leg several times with a knife typically used for shucking oysters. A couple of people are shot in the head. When a man is choking in a Denny's, Ashburn tries to perform an emergency tracheotomy with disastrous results (blood is spurting everywhere). Mullins repeatedly threatens men by waving her gun near their genitals. Ashburn ends up shooting a man in that very spot.

Christa Banister is an author and full-time freelancer writer, specializing in music, movies and books-related reviews and interviews and is the author of two novels, Around the World in 80 Dates and Blessed Are the MeddlersBased in Dallas, Texas, she also weighs in on various aspects of pop culture on her personal blog.

Publication date: June 28, 2013