The Heat
Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy team up for an action-comedy that is sidesplittingly funny and undeniably sharp. Bullock is an uptight, by-the-book FBI agent; McCarthy is a rule-breaking, ball-busting Boston cop. But they must team up to bring down a powerful and mysterious drug lord. Demián Bichir, Michael McDonald, and Tony Hale co-star; Paul Feig directs. (Read our review here.)

Yup, The Heat is that buddy cop movie that stars women instead of two veiny-necked dudes. But rather than making the jokes about women in the workplace, Feig and writer Katie Dippold made sure their heroines were badass cops like Riggs and Murtaugh, and the humor came from their personality clashes. With The Heat kicking ass at the box office this weekend, it seemed fitting to focus on movies where the female protagonists were kick-ass at their jobs…sometimes literally.

Haywire (2012) Before she was playing sidekick to The Rock in Fast & Furious 6, MMA fighter Gina Carano was Steven Soderbergh's mesmerizing and muscle-bound muse for this unconventional spy thriller. "Thinking of her as a woman would be a mistake," is the warning given about her character, Mallory Kane, a top-notch secret agent whose been framed, betrayed, and is dead-set on revenge. The casts contains Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Channing Tatum, and Antonio Banderas, but spoiler alert none are a match for Carano's raw power and lightning-fast speed. Soderbergh directs.

Nine to Five (1980) This broad comedy centers on women who kick ass at work in another way. Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Dolly Parton play three women who begrudgingly work for a sexist and lecherous boss (Dabney Coleman) who takes credit for their best work, and attempts to bully and blackmail one into an affair. When he pushes too far these ladies push back by kidnapping him and covertly taking over the company. effecting change and secretly shattering the glass ceiling. But how long can having your boss trussed up at home last? Colin Higgins directs.

Katy Perry: Part of Me (2012) Maybe you're raising an eyebrow on this choice, but one thing I learned from pop princess Katy Perry's concert documentary is what a hard-working woman she is. This doc produced by the people behind Project Runway and Top Chef chronicles Perry's journey from the cradle to the stage intercut with spectacular song numbers from her California Dreams Tour. You see Perry prepping, planning, working off her fast food addiction, doing costume fittings, rehearsals, meet and greets, and the show itself all while desperately trying to find time to spend with her oft-far flung husband Russell Brand. I raved about this movie upon its initial release, and watching it the other day, I got caught up all over again. As Perry's struggling with the heartbreak of her failing marriage, we witness what "The show must go on" means as she pockets her pain and plasters on a massive smile so as not to disappoint the thousands of fans who have gathered to see the pop star that inspires them. This is a concert doc that demands to be enjoyed. Give it a shot.

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