“The Heat”: Police misconduct as feminism
Nothing quite says female empowerment like violating the civil rights of criminal suspects, am I right? Stop-and-frisk, racial profiling, harsh interrogation and enforcing the ludicrous laws of the drug war – such are the frontiers of feminism explored in “The Heat,” this weekend’s buddy comedy starring Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as a zany pair of mismatched cops. I know, I know: I’m being a killjoy and deliberately missing the point of the raunchy new woman-centric romp from “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig, with a screenplay by “Parks and Recreation” writer Katie Dippold.
Well, let’s talk about that, shall we? What is the point of making a movie that’s just like the dopiest, broadest and most reductive grade of guy-oriented comedy, except with women? With “Bridesmaids,” I could more or less understand why many women I respected seized on the film’s release as a feminist moment, and really wanted it to be a hit. (I still didn’t think it was all that great; Leslye Headland’s much-maligned “Bachelorette” was meaner, smarter and funnier.) If Judd Apatow-style, hard-R, bodily-function comedy was where the money was in Hollywood, then the ladies should get to slice some of that cheese on their own terms, and opening up space for female writers, directors and producers to do their work with bigger budgets could only be a good thing.