Mullins is a foul-mouthed detective good at catching bad guys but not much else. Her captain fears her, and not long into "The Heat" you understand why. Her family hasn't forgiven her for throwing brother Jason (Michael Rapaport) in jail — that's the relationship to watch. Her fashion sensibility leans toward thrift store, not chic, more like dollar bin. When we meet her, Mullins has spotted a john amid a proposition. Suffice it to say she is armed and dangerous with or without a gun.

The villain is an elusive drug lord named Larkin. His brutality is legendary, his face a mystery. It's a good twist but means the filmmakers have to throw in some other faces for us to hate in the meantime.

There is DEA agent Craig (Dan Bakkedahl), a crude albino-chauvinist, and his sycophant sidekick (Taran Killam). The DEA investigation is at odds with theirs, and agent Craig is out to shut them down. Mullins' favorite perp is a possible Larkin street dealer named Rojas (a funny Spoken Reasons). Also in Larkin's circle is the very scary, very good with knives Julian (Michael McDonald).

But mostly this is Mullins and Ashburn's run-and-gun show. At times "The Heat" gets messy, and the comedy is not always pitch perfect. But they're cops. They're enemies. They're friends. They're opposites. It's funny.


'The Heat'

MPAA rating: R for pervasive language, strong crude content and some violence

Running time: 1 hour, 57 minutes

Playing: In general release