Why so serious Ladies?

June 18th, 2013 by Ben

For the upcoming release of the movie “The Heat” I’ve taken the liberty to take a quick look over male-oriented and female-oriented cop movies and noticed an interesting piece of information. It would appear that male cop cast members have a much easier time at not taking their job seriously whilst female cops are always incredibly intense.  Take “The Heat” stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy for example – both of them are teaming up to become misfit crime fighting partners. Obviously, along the way there are a great deal of mishaps and raunchy gags which you don’t quite expect from female cops, maybe even females in general, something that we first got exposed to when Bridesmaids came out (also directed by Paul Feig). As we review these titles it becomes noticeable that among them it is Sandra Bullock who made this transformation from serious to not serious.

Men – You can’t live with them:

The Other Guys (2010)

We kick the list off with Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell who play a misfit duo that ended up pushing paperwork in the office for their idols Danson and Highsmith. When they receive a high profile investigation, their life is turned upside down and they must look past their differences and try to work together in order to be as good as their idols. The movie is very humorous and filled with silly humor and a lot of verbal byplay. One thing is for sure is that these detectives treat their job more like a roller-coaster rather than really help people.

Showtime (2002)

Sergeant Mitch Preston is only interested in performing his job, and putting criminals behind bars. After his partner gets shot, a reporter in the vicinity tries to catch the action and capture it with his camera to no avail, as Mitch shoots the camera and then has to face a lawsuit. The police department agrees to pair Mitch together with officer Trey Sellars in an attempt to create a reality tv show about police work that will be more “viewer-friendly”. This pair of misfit partners are hilarious, are complete opposites and want different things from their jobs which leads to constant conflict and strife.

Rush Hour (1998)

The Chinese consul’s daughter gets kidnapped in Brett Ratner’s comedy about these two unlikely partners who must join forces in order to save her.  In a classic filmic culture clash – inspector Lee comes from china, being serious about his work, very well-mannered and polite, while LAPD’s James Carter is  a loud-mouthed ‘only works alone’ type. The clock is ticking for him and for Lee to try and get her back to safety.

From Paris with Love (2010)

James Reece works in the US embassy in Paris, and he’s an ambitious man. In hopes of working his way into the big leagues of black ops, James works odd jobs for the CIA. On the day of his engagement, he gets the call to pick up Charlie Wax from the Paris airport, whilst the reason remains unknown. James is an intelligent man, very strategic and calculated whilst Charlie is eccentric, rough, and straight forward. These differences in character create an ego clash between the two that enables a unique offbeat feel to this comedy set in europe.

Starsky & Hutch (2004)

Starsky & Hutch is an example of a serious TV show that was flipped on its head and became farce when transitioning to the big screen. Detective Starsky always works by the book. He’s hard working, and tries his best to uphold justice, though he does it all with a great deal of style and swag with his curly hair and cool car – the Ford Torino. Detective Hutchinson is the complete opposite, he mingles with criminals in order to do justice, takes money from dead bodies, and generally has a more open-minded take on moral standards Smile. This dynamic duo uses the help of a police snitch Huggy Bear (played by the funny rapper Snoop Dogg) in order to take down a white-collar master criminal. Fast paced, action packed and completely goofball – this remake takes nothing about law enforcement seriously.

The Fairer Sex

For a rather long time female cops have favored the more serious side of law enforcement, though in recent years have made some progress in advancing the gender equality of ridiculousness in law enforcement roles. In the list below you will find a mix of both styles of female partners.

Eleventh Hour (2008-2009):

So we kick the female list off with this TV series about two crime fighting partners. One is a scientist and the other a police detective that protects him as he tries to solve a vicious and devious case of murders steeped in science. With our typical genius level eccentric partnered with his serious female back-up this series is highly suspenseful and sexy, in a way only a good woman can bring about!  Winking smile

Rizzoli & Isles (2010):

Detective Jane Rizzoli is the only female cop in Boston, forcing her to be a tough cookie and well suited to the icy Dr. Maura Isles who feels most comfortable in the company of the corpses she examines. The two partner up to solve suspenseful and tense crimes of all manner. These two best friends present a very strong and successful female presence casting a bad light on the many sub-par male cops they find themselves proving themselves to on a daily basis.

Murder by Numbers (2002):

From here on out our focus will turn to Sandra Bullock‘s role as a pioneer in the transformation of the archetype as she traverses the spectrum of the female cop role from total seriousness to one of farcical comedy. The first of which remains firmly in the serious vein. When detective Cassie Mayweather and her new partner Sam Kennedy investigate a series of murders performed by two brilliant high-schoolers who meticulously calculated what they intended to be the perfect murder. Bullock’s brilliant role reversal in this film puts her as the more dominant member of the team, seducing then casually dismissing her male partner and finally ridiculing him for having feelings :)

Miss Congeniality (2000)

Sandra switches gears in this comedy where she plays an undercover FBI agent that has to participate in the Miss America Pageant in order to foil a terrorist’s plot and protect his target that is somewhere in the contest. As duty comes first, Gracie must force herself to discover her femininity to protect the innocent and in the process reveal the side nobody new existed to herself and her partner. As we and her partner witness her transformation Bullock’s charm wins us both over and we fall in love with her, implicitly reminding us that women cops are women too. This is probably one of the biggest shifts in the female law enforcement genre and we applaud Bullock for taking this gleeful step forward that proved itself in the box office and made this movie a blockbuster.

The Heat (2013):

We shift gears to overdrive with our last entry, which is also a new release coming out tomorrow. Special agent Sarah Ashburn and detective Shannon Mullins always lived and worked solo because of their rough methods and in your face attitude. Paired up by their chief, this motley pair is tasked with taking down a ruthless drug lord in this irreverent comedy that is filled with gross-out and silly humor. Both actresses take law enforcement to the outer limits of the absurd, finally matching the ridiculousness that is so common in films featuring their  male counterparts. Is this the beginning of a new era for female cops? – Well, perhaps the fact that the Heat’s sequel has been greenlit without so much as the opening weekend box office reports coming back that should clue in people that the smart money is betting it has.

To conclude, the trend in recent years seems to be pointing to the notion that women are no longer courteous, quiet, and cute but rather ready to put themselves out there. They’re raunchy, rough and often times have more cojones than many of the men they find themselves surrounded with. Why not honestly? why should only men be infantile, immature and gross? Isn’t this the real expression of gender equality? Smile We call upon all actresses, not just Sandra Bullock, to join the movement. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll even see a goofy reluctant partners title with a male and female duo as leads. Till that day comes I bid you happy viewing, and to take it easy.

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