Spy Movie Review
SPIES LIKE US, THE MAN WHO KNEW TOO LITTLE, JOHNNY ENGLISH, GET SMART and of course, AUSTIN POWERS are just a few of the comedic takes on the usually action-filled dramatic genre of “spy” films in the vein of James Bond. The newest film to the comedy spy class, aptly titled SPY, changes up the formula a bit by, “Gasp!” starring a female lead! I know it sounds too simple, but the fact is we have never had a major comedy spy film starring a woman and the year is 2015. While everyone else keeps retreading the same material, funny woman Melissa McCarthy and writer/director Paul Feig breathe new life into an otherwise played out genre.
Melissa McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, a CIA agent who has been relegated exclusively to desk work. But when the usual team of field agent’s identities are compromised, Cooper volunteers to go undercover to track down a stolen nuclear warhead among the diabolical black market of deadly arms dealers. Unfortunately, every step for the trained but inexperienced Cooper takes her on the more unglamorous paths of being a spy, always taking her through unflattering disguises as a homely middle-age single mother who loves cats and ill-fitted clothing. If she wants to crack this case, Cooper is going to have to shed that pushover mentality and start knocking some heads.
Helping out in the comedy endeavor is the amazing supporting cast, who commit to every scene with unashamed courage. Jude Law is dreamy CIA agent Bradley Fine who may or may not realize what kind of affectionate hold he has over Cooper. Jason Statham is reckless CIA agent Rick Ford who messes up any situation he enters with delusional confidence. Allison Janney is Cooper’s boss who takes things very seriously. Rose Byrne is Rayna Boyanov, an evil arms dealer with an icy demeanor and spoiled mean girl attitude. Miranda Hart is Cooper’s best friend and fellow CIA desk colleague Nancy, who is hilariously even less qualified for field duty than Cooper.
Melissa McCarthy is a groundbreaking comedic actress. Sadly, the opportunity for women to shine in lead roles just isn’t the same as it is for the boys club. However, with the help of the many funny women before her, McCarthy is taking that next big step and rolling it into the perfect pratfall for all to laugh with. The material itself is mildly funny, but every mannerism and line delivery from McCarthy finds surprisingly new humor in situations where it may not be there. She has the innovative subtleness of Will Ferrell and the all-in energy of the late Chris Farley. Lets not get hung up on about who she might remind us of though, because Melissa is quite simply on her own, a very funny person.
BRIDESMAIDS, THE HEAT, SPY and the upcoming GHOSTBUSTERS remake, Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy have struck up quite the powerful team, giving women a shot at genres that use to only find the guys at play. SPY utilizes its cast well and finds new humor and reverses gender roles without calling attention to itself in an establish comedy schtick that we’ve seen before. While at times very sweet with clean humor, don’t take the kids, because SPY is also very crass with a deserved ‘R’ rating. The talented comedic range of McCarthy’s soft to hard persona is on full display and is the main reason why SPY is worth seeing.