Written and Directed by Paul Feig.
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Jude Law, Bobby Cannavale and Morena Baccarin.
A desk-bound CIA analyst volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent diabolical global disaster.
Martin Scorsese has Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert DeNiro, Tim Burton has Johnny Depp, and Paul Feig has Melissa McCarthy. Some actor/director combinations fit like a glove, and for the third straight outing (Bridesmaids and The Heat) we have another success with Spy.
Unexpectedly, there is also an admirable amount of unexplored range channeled from Melissa McCarthy, not portraying the sassy, loudmouthed, obscene character right out of the gate that we have grown accustomed to. Instead, she plays Susan Cooper, a CIA field operative assistant of 10 years with low self-esteem that decides to jump into the heart of the action when her good friend Bradley Fine (played by Jude Law with stereotypical British spy suave) gets into some trouble. Over the course of the movie, there is a natural progression of Susan growing into the charismatic motormouth with no filter that Melissa McCarthy fans love.
Aside from gender-bending the typical spy film, it’s also one of the biggest reasons Spy works as both a comedy and film. Jude Law gets to show off that he is a beast in shootouts and hand-to-hand combat, but placing someone with the spunk of Melissa McCarthy into the fire allows for not just a slightly refreshing take on the genre, but one that is assuredly downright hilarious. It also cannot go unnoticed that Feig has once again framed his action sequences well.
While gleefully watching Melissa McCarthy stumble into chaos, slowly growing confidence to both survive and successfully complete the mission, we are also blessed with a number of side characters that either match her comedic presence, or in Jason Statham’s case, surpass her. Seriously, it’s best not to look into the details of his character, and just go in blind knowing that not only is it awesome he is stepping out of his comfort zone of badass into comedy, but that he walks away with every single scene he is a part of, leaving the audience in a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Rose Byrne also makes for an endearingly cruel villain that has perfect chemistry with McCarthy, but nothing can top some of Statham’s lines. There is one scene in particular where he has seven or eight quotable pieces of dialogue within the span of a minute.
Spy definitely succeeds in actually making people laugh but it is also a flawed film. It is approximately 2 hours and takes a good 25 minutes before Melissa McCarthy actually enters her mission, which feels wholly unnecessary. To be honest, outside of the Jude Law action sequence, the first stretch of the movie isn’t all that exciting or funny. Meanwhile, the back-end of the movie is peppered with plot twists that are logical and fun, but also add too many players to the mystery that really don’t have a character outside of the obvious label of foreign terrorist.
In addition to having a bloated running time, Spy asks audiences to suspend their disbelief to the point of non-existence. It’s believable to see McCarthy whip out a knife and shank a guy under pressure, but some of her more extended action scenes are a bit too ridiculous and don’t really gel well with the movie’s hard R rating and unawareness of it should ground itself in reality, asking us to attach an emotional connection to these characters, or be completely bonkers. It just never quite settles in one direction.
Perhaps that’s what Feig intended though; straight up female power for a genre dominated by males.. What’s most important is that Spy draws forth top-notch hilarious performances from every single one of its leads and supporting roles, offering up what is sure to be one of the better comedies of 2015. Who knew that Jason Statham could nearly kill us with laughter? He needs an hour’s worth of deleted scenes on the Blu-ray.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook