Please don’t believe the ads. Spy is not the second coming of Paul Blart: Mall Cop. And thankfully, Melissa McCarthy is not the female equivalent to Kevin James. After watching the trailers, I wouldn’t blame movie-goers to think along those lines. In fact, I didn’t attend the movie of my own volition. It was pure luck and convenience that led me to the cinema (and sadly, my mum). But I don’t regret it one bit. Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig’s latest collaboration is, in one word, hilarious.
Readers would recognise Melissa McCarthy as an overweight, borderline disgusting female with questionable mental stability in Bridesmaids, The Heat (both directed by Paul Feig) and many other comedies. Whilst she is mostly known for playing bizarre and some would say, “off-putting”, characters she is capable of so much more. The marketing for Spy would have you believe that this was another movie in which McCarthy is off-the-rails and only through fate is in any way competent at her job. Not so. McCarthy stars as CIA analyst Susan Cooper partnered (professionally and emotionally) with agent, Bradley Fine (Jude Law) – that is until he is killed on a mission by a Bulgarian mobster, Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne). We come to learn that Susan was actually trained to be a field agent and is both highly intelligent, and dangerous. In order to avenge agent Fine, Susan jumps back into the field with the assistance of her fellow analyst, Nancy (Miranda Hart) and rogue ex-CIA agent, Rick Ford (Jason Statham). The plot is riddled with backstabbing and double, no, triple-crossing as audiences are led on this comic take-down of modern, sometimes alienating, spy movies (ahem, James Bond).
McCarthy plays Susan in such a way that we root for her as the underdog, but never, not once, do we doubt her abilities. The role does not involve as much physical, slap-stick comedy as the trailer would imply, but McCarthy’s line delivery and ability to switch from boring to bad-ass is uncanny. She leads the movie from start to finish, providing laughs consistently throughout the entire film. Seriously, I am not exaggerating. My sad, scattered Wednesday night cinema of questionable demographic was audibly laughing in nearly every scene. Some great moments include agent Cooper’s dismay at receiving the world’s ugliest necklace from the man she is infatuated with, desperately trying to warn a fellow agent through an auto-tuned microphone, and vomiting on a terrorist she killed moments before. I am glad to say there are many, many more.
I am fast becoming a fan of Rose Byrne (who was also in Bridesmaids for those keeping score at home). She plays this character that is snobby, rich, wonderfully condescending but isn’t afraid to get down and dirty. Her and McCarthy’s rapid fire arguments are comedic gold. In my (unfounded) opinion (ha!), Byrne possibly delivered the line of the year:
“That is the most fucking stupidest, retarded toast I ever heard.”
It was just beautiful. On top of Byrne and McCarthy’s performances there was Statham’s, who put a great spin on the hardball, tough-as-shit rogue spy trope. And how could I not mention Miranda Hart and Peter Serafinowicz. Miranda’s role as McCarthy’s fellow dowdy analyst brought a splash of the goofy comedy audiences have become used to seeing from McCarthy. Serafinowicz’s performance as the handsy-Italian-but-maybe-British-ally really upped the anti on the physical comedy front. I could go through the cast list and sing everyone’s praises – I enjoyed it that much.
There were many, many great moments in the film. I don’t want to become repetitive, but really – Spy was laugh out loud funny. After watching Spy I was already thinking about rewatching it, it was that good. I really wanted to emphasise that, because films starring women are something that I want to see more of and Spy really blew me out of the water. The advertising does not do it justice and completely misrepresents the film. Anyhow, I would definitely recommend you see it and preferably at the movies, so maybe its success can lead to more female centred films like Spy instead of yet another Hangover movie.
Spy (2015): 10/10. Sue me.