Director: Paul Feig
Screenplay: Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, Peter Serafinowicz, Morena Baccarin, Jude Law
Running Length: 120 minutes
Synopsis: Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy), a shy deskbound CIA analyst, goes on a mission to help a field agent in trouble. Employing not-so-outrageous identities and not-so-fancy spy gadgets, she attempts to infiltrate the shadowy world of an alluring but dangerous weapons dealer. She leaves a trail of mayhem crisscrossing Europe, utilizing deception and false bravado to try and outwit her quarry and locate a stolen nuke.
Review: No one has managed to make Melissa McCarthy shine like Paul Feig has (and that includes McCarthy’s husband, who directed her in the mediocre Tammy), and in Spy they have left everything else (so far) in the McCarthy canon in the dust. Spy is undeniably the best Feig-Mccarthy pairing in the three films they have worked together on (the breakout hit Bridesmaids and the equally successful The Heat), and despite it being positioned firstly as a comedy, Spy is also a totally legit espionage action film, and I foresee it scoring great success at the box office despite a pretty packed Summer roster.
The most impressive thing about Spy is how it manages to meld the comedy and action genres together so well, without diminishing either aspect. This is in large part due to the how deftly Melissa McCarthy balances between the two – her comic timing is impeccable here, but she also manages to pull off the action and physical comedy sequences with equal aplomb (though there are some scenes where a body double was quite clearly used). Not many actors can lay claim to such an achievement, and it firmly establishes McCarthy as the reigning queen of comedy with a few tricks up her sleeve.
Paul Feig’s script does the same – it’s filled with excellent zingers and visual gags, so rich in material that one can easily watch the film a second time round and find even more to belly laugh at, and yet the spy story is equally engaging, with twists and turns that would surprise even the most jaded moviegoers. All the things that make a good spy movie are present here: exotic locations, over-the-top action sequences, a doomsday device and yes, even the classic Bond-style opening sequence makes an appearance.
Both McCarthy and the script are also bolstered greatly by a uniformly excellent supporting cast, almost all playing against type (and obviously having a great time doing it). The most notable are Rose Byrne, who is fantastic as the cruel but vapid villainess with a ridiculous accent and even more ridiculous coiffure, and Jason Statham, gleefully sending up his usual tough guy routine as a British spy who is all bark and no bite. Spy is possibly the most fun that will be had this Summer season, and is an easy recommendation to make to virtually any moviegoer.
Rating: * * * ½ (out of four stars)