Spy: Melissa McCarthy Stars in Occasionally Witty, Occasionally Silly Spy Spoof
Jason StathamJude Law...
Action & AdventureComedy
In 1 Cinema
Melissa McCarthy can rightly be thought of as a guaranteed box office draw, but even as she continues to climb the Hollywood comedy ladder, there has been more misuse of her comedic talents than fans would care to admit. But, boasting an interesting cast, Paul Feig’s latest action-comedy flick, Spy, puts McCarthy centre-stage and though there’s nothing groundbreaking or even particularly fresh here, there’s a decent amount of humour and brainless fun to be found in its surprisingly effective R-rated offerings.
Though this is the third collaboration between McCarthy and Feig – see comedy hit, Bridesmaids, and last year’s not-so-hot, The Heat – Spy sees the bubbly and versatile actress take a lead role under the writer-director for the first time as Susan Cooper; a sharp and an able CIA analyst who spends most of her day sitting behind computer screens, dreaming of one day going into the field. Essentially, she is the eyes and ears for one of the agency’s best field agents, Bradley Fine (Law), who, unfortunately, is totally unaware of her affections towards him.
Things soon go awry when Fine’s latest mission in Varna, Bulgaria goes bust, leaving the identities of the CIA’s top agents compromised. Seizing the opportunity to show what she’s made of, Susan manages to convince her boss (the terribly underused Allison Janney) to let her go undercover and track down Rayna Boyanov (Byrne); the daughter of a deceased arms dealer who has managed to get a hold of a nuclear device and is the only person on the planet who knows where her father might have hidden it.
Positioning itself as a bit of James-Bond spoof, Spy is engagingly humorous and, at times, brutal in a cartoonish way. It doesn’t take itself seriously and there’s a good dose of just plain silliness and far-fetched ideas thrown into the mix. But it’s still far from perfect; some of the jokes miss the mark – McCarthy’s ‘bodyguard-talk’ being the exception – while the action set-pieces and the visuals aren’t as refined as that of, say, Kingsman: The Secret Service, for example – another recent spy-comedy.
Nevertheless, McCarthy is the heart and soul of the party and as a woman who is constantly judged by her appearance, she manages to deliver a surprisingly heartfelt performance, all the while keeping her comedy acting-chops intact. Meanwhile, Byrne – equipped with a deadpan expression and extravagant hairdos – is equally entertaining and her character’s femme-fatale persona is cleverly lampooned. Law has proven he can adapt and deliver in comedies and does so as a handsome and vain operative, while Statham delivers the role of a wired field agent in surprisingly amusing fashion.
Spy is another fine collaboration between Feig and his go-to-girl, McCarthy; witty at times, brainless at others, not everything seems to gel, but if you’re in the mood for a mindless globe-trotting adventure, then Spy ticks all the boxes for an easy-breezy watch.