Spy (2015)

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More than an average spoof film, this Paul Feig/Melissa McCarthy team up jumps hard on all the fast swift delights of action films and ties it in nicely with comic set ups based on the rise of an internal based agent thrust into the field of espionage. It’s scope is open enough to delight many watchers and the satisfaction can be found in the strong enjoyment factor.

Working as a spy aid and CIA agent, Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) one day steps forward into the active field to track down Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) and Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale) who are about to do a black market deal for a nuke. Knowing the basics from helping fine agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) won’t exactly help as she gets wrapped up in pushing orders to follow targets and avoiding the dimwitted interruptions from fellow agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham).

This film is out and out good fun from opening to closing scenes and it doesn’t really stop in between. The reliance on pratfalls and some slapstick is perhaps catered more to that specific clientele of people who laugh at anything but it’s punchy in the spy spoofing department and the funny lines as well. The visual comedy of secret agent humour and having Susan dressed as increasingly depressing and humiliating single women personas shows McCarthy can poke fun at herself and also gives something different to the usual black tie/glamorous dress image of spies. Though of course that does get lost as the desk bound caterpillar becomes a confident butterfly in black dress and gets used to her new world.

Paul Feig masters an enthralling script of whizz, the film may run at 120 minutes but it never feels a stretch. His actual handle on the meatier subject of the actual narrative gets lost. The whole set up of the suitcase nuke and transaction gets muddled between the comedy stylings and then it suddenly rears it head for the ending face off. That feels a little rushed to get back to the plot, close the mission and therefore the story and set up for an obvious ‘Spy 2’, but he writes back and forth dialogues really well, one liners come flying thick and fast and the double agent stuff is done greatly keeping you guessing to what’s going to go down.

There’s more comedy to be had in what’s said than what’s seen and I prefer that for this big comedy type of feature. Certain aspects like bats and rats in the CIA basement is a drag for visual comedy, the entire plane sequence to me wasn’t tense and became sillier as it went on. The sleazy humour from Aldo can only go so far until it became tedious. It’s the snappy dialogue spoken that made me really like the movie. Ford and his zany anecdotes about his work are pure genius, Melissa’s squaring up to Rayna is great and her asides about her or others add superb character.

Broadly, the film utilises it’s jet setting locations in the same vein as Bond movies. This movie does have glitz in it’s European settings, casinos and fast cars. The opening also works on that Bond title look. You can’t mistake the angle it’s going for and the genre is ripe for the picking and it does so fantastically. At times, a lot of fights rival real action movies. There’s appropriate music from Theodore Shapiro that also keeps the film in check with that sound of spy genres. Though having the Ukrainian Eurovision entry of 2007 appear in France felt a little odd.

Melissa McCarthy is a great leading role, for this film at least. I’m not a huge fan of her roles but she does work well doing her thing. Also she’s more relatable in the way she wants to achieve and her clear love for Fine to follow this mission make for wanting her to succeed and Melissa brings about that feeling splendidly. Rose Byrne clearly seems to love parading about in her panto role of over the top image obsessed, violent and controlling daddy’s girl. The harsh and yet hilarious remarks she makes are delivered with such tasty snarls. 50 Cent and Miranda Hart make for a weird yet comedic duo but her by herself doing her best friend role is as annoying as I find her in her brain dead slapstick drivel excuse of a TV show. Jude Law is smarmy and slick, the clear Bond of the piece who comes into the story as motivation and possible dilemma. Jason Statham is utterly fantastic. The bad boy way he delivers the increasingly elaborate stories of what he’s done is crazily brilliant. He steals the show and let’s hope in the inevitable sequel he does a whole load more showboating.

There’s nothing you haven’t seen here before, spoofs are done a lot but Melissa can play that one role well, Feig can write comedy and bringing on board a whole host of actors to play over the top characters does provide this film with laughs a plenty. Very fun and an amusing distracting movie.

7/10

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