Information for Parents
Common Sense Media says Iffy for 16+
Female buddy-cop comedy mixes humor, violence, drinking.
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.
- 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?
The good stuff
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.
What to watch for
Violence: 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.
Sexy stuff: 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.
Language: 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.
Consumerism: Some products are visible on screen, including people drinking Coke, using a BlackBerry, and driving a Chevrolet or Volvo.
Drinking, drugs and 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.