Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Directed by: Paul Feig
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Jason Statham, Miranda Hart, Rose Byrne
Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy make a great team. Since their first collaboration with Bridesmaids back in 2011, the combination of McCarthy and Feig has since come to signify foul-mouthed comedy success. Now, with this week’s Spy, McCarthy has finally been upgraded to full blown leading lady. Without a shadow of a doubt, Spy is the ‘Melissa McCarthy Show’, with the Hollywood funny lady at her very best.
McCarthy plays lowly desk bound CIA agent Susan Cooper. Smart, tech savvy, and more than a dab hand with a knife and gun, Cooper provides technical support to Jude Law’s Bond-esque CIA field agent, Bradley Fine, whilst also harboring a major crush on the handsome and suave agent. However, Susan dreams of more from her CIA life, desperately wanting to be taken seriously.
Susan is soon thrust into the field to infiltrate the world of Rose Byrne’s villainous arms dealer Rayna Boyanov and prevent her from selling a nuclear weapon to terrorists. Given unfortunate cover identities such as lonely old cat lady and lonely old housewife, Cooper manages to infiltrate Boyanov’s inner circle, but finds herself continually hampered by Jason Statham’s moronic rogue agent Rick Ford.
If you’re not a fan of McCarthy’s particular comic stylings, then Spy is most certainly not for you. The movie is a perfect showcase for her talents, more than making up for last year’s lacklustre Tammy. With her trademark every-day demeanour, coupled with the vociferous, foul-mouthed persona she perfected in The Heat, McCarthy is magnetic whenever she’s on screen, delivering her zingers left and right with aplomb. Feig has no qualms about throwing McCarthy into the midst of the action either, flinging her into car chases and knife fights like they’re going out of fashion.
Spy may be McCarthy’s show but that doesn’t mean she scores all the laughs. Having made a name for himself as cinema’s tough guy, Jason Statham brilliantly sends up his own screen persona as the lunkheaded Ford, detailing in one of the film’s signature moments a string of overly elaborate scenarios and exploits about what makes him a ‘real spy’. Statham clearly had a blast in the role and hopefully this means he gets to do more comedy in the near future. Miranda Hart meanwhile does her usual Miranda shtick, while Jude Law also has a great time as the Bond-esque Fine.
While laughs come thick and fast, the film does waver on occasion. Not all gags manage to hit home (a running gag involving rodents in the CIA tech department for example), while Feig struggles to balance the comedic with the more generic spy elements of the film. Much like The Heat before it, Spy isn’t necessarily a spoof of the spy genre, but rather it moulds its comedy within its generic trappings.
Spy is an absolute blast from start to finish with McCarthy on excellent form. Roll on her next collaboration with Feig on 2016’s Ghostbusters.