THE HEAT (2013): ARE NARCISSISTIC CHARACTERS IN FILM "FUNNY"?

Douglas Gosse (douglasg@nipissingu.ca)
Professor in the Schulich School of Education at Nipissing University, North Bay, Ontario, Canada

Abstract


'The Heat' stars Sandra Bullock as uptight FBI agent Sarah Ashburn, who is paired with a coarse Boston detective, Shannon Mullins, played by Melissa McCarthy, to capture a drug lord. This quintessential odd couple, forced to work together in Boston, display character traits that exemplify narcissism, racism, ablebodism, and sexism (both misandry and misogyny). I pinpoint and destabilize The Heat’s superficial appropriation of feminism via critique of Ashburn and Mullins’ outrageous behaviours and actions. Their narcissism, entailing self-interest, ruthless competition, and scorn of those marginalized—eventually binds the crime fighters together. Stemming from a long line of films that purport to repudiate the patriarchy, The Heat actually reinstates capitalist and hegemonic principles. Under a shallow feminist veneer, The Heat further reflects a North America pop cultural trend of upholding a modern version of professional womanhood that disdains men, while paradoxically elevating women who embrace uncivilized and narcissistic behaviors as heroic sisters.'

 

Keywords: capitalism, narcissism, sexism, misogyny, misandry, racism, ablebodism


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