Sunday, May 24, 2015


Year: 2015
Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Miranda Hart, Allison Janney

Plot: A CIA analyst with zero experience in the field is sent on a mission to stop an arms dealer after the agency's top agents' identities are compromised.

Review: When it comes to Melissa McCarthy, I can be on the fence. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I mean, there's only so much of her foul language and physical comedy that one can endure before it gets old. Good thing for us this time though that Paul Feig uses those skills of hers very well and in the right doses.

In Spy, McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, a CIA analyst that helps top agent Bradley Fine carry out his dangerous assignments by becoming his eyes and ears via her computer back at Langley. When he gets killed on a mission by Raina Boyanov, an arms dealer trying to sell a nuclear bomb, Susan volunteers to go undercover since Raina has apparently got all the identities of the agency's top assets. And off she goes in an attempt to be like her idol Bradley, with the advantage of not being suspected as an agent due to her image, and the disadvantage of having zero experience in the field.

Feig is wise enough to make Susan Cooper a competent protagonist. Remember Johnny English? How long before one gets tired of watching him make a fool of himself for the whole movie? In this case, Susan is no weakling. She can fight quite well and although a bundle of nerves at first, manages to get the hang of what it takes to be a spy. To that end, McCarthy hits mostly the right notes by playing Susan the same way we would if we were in her shoes. And it is fun to watch her physical comedy this time around, and see her kick ass so well too. The kitchen fight scene is a memorable standout here.

Jude Law exudes charm as Bradley Fine, but doesn't quite get enough screen time here. Rose Byrne is pretty good as the foul mouthed Raina, but it is Jason Statham who steals the show here as Ford, the equally foul mouthed agent who despises Susan. Statham is awesome here, exaggerating his famous tough guy persona by mentioning his torturous experiences in the field while not exactly being the sharpest knife in the drawer. Miranda Hart deserves mention here as the sort of British version of McCarthy, playing Susan's partner Nancy.

The film isn't perfect of course. Some of the comedy bits don't work so well, for instance the serial groper Italian agent played by Peter Serafinowicz only works half the time, and some of the R-rated jokes don't really hit the mark. The last fifteen minutes of the film is also a tad messy due to an abundance of characters and subplots. 

Overall, Spy is a solid spoof of the spy genre (complete with a 007 style credit sequence) and a step up from Feig and McCarthy's last effort, The Heat. (7/10) 

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