Director: Paul Feig
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Jude Law, Alison Janney, Bobby Cannavale
Written by: Paul Feig
Running Time: 12o mins
Release date: 5th June 2015
I was beginning to worry a little about Melissa McCarthy’s career. What started out as promising in her scene stealing role in Bridesmaids, she hasn’t shown her full potential since, usually playing foul-mouthed, dim-wits and usually second fiddle to some other bigger name. Now I can stop worrying because Spy allows her full reins to run the show and she does it effortlessly, in what could be the funniest comedy this year. It’s certainly the funniest comedy in a long while.
Desk-bound CIA analyst Susan Cooper has watched for years on the sidelines as her hunky spy, Bradley Fine, becomes the hero of the day while she guides him through the various scenarios. Now that a nuclear bomb has been stolen and all the agents identities reveals by ruthless Raina Boyanov, Susan puts herself forward to try to track down the missing weapon. What she doesn’t realise is once out in the field, this mild-mannered lady must become a ruthless killing machine.
Writer and director Paul Feig, who has already given us Bridesmaids and The Heat, as well as helming the new Ghostbusters, has taken the whole spy genre and turned it on its head. Like Kingsman, this is a dizzy mix of laugh-out-loud comedy and graphic violence, yet here the gore factor is not as prevalent although the action is firmly in place.
Having the feel of a Bond film, from the full orchestration and Maurice Binder-style opening credits, to the joyful bouncing from one country to another, this never once takes itself too seriously, even if the subject of nuclear weapons are mentioned. It’s also gloriously female heavy, allowing four very smart and witty women taking centre-stage.
Melissa McCarthy shines. Giving her plenty of room to go from the cute and down-trodden, to the fast-talking, acid-tongue agent, McCarthy is allowed opportunity to ad-lib, which she relishes with glee. Along side her is our very own Miranda Hart, making her Hollywood debut. Playing her best friend, the two females bounce off each other like old school friends, with Hart being, well, Miranda.
Rose Byrne reunites with McCarthy after their Bridesmaid stint, as the devilish villainess. With her enormous hair and skin-tight outfits, she looks like she’s having the best time ever going all bad. Another bonus is the ever reliable Alison Janney as the CIA boss. No matter how small or large the role, Janney gives it everything and here its no exception. Maybe one day, they will see her potential as a possible lead.
The males don’t come out too bad either. Jude Law gets to play Bond-ish as a handsome and smooth CIA operative with the dinner jackets and his handiness with a gun, while Jason Statham almost steals the whole film from under everyone’s noses with a superb piece of self-mockery, as a tough, straight-talking spy with a hundred horror stories who may come out with all the bravado but in most cases is utterly useless. It’s great to see The Stath in comic form and he needs to show this side more often.
Spy is a big, fat crowd-pleaser in every way. It is genuinely funny, has plenty of exciting moments and enough staying power for a few more movies in the future. It’s not perfect: it relies heavily of being very swearing for some of the laughs and it does dip slightly in the middle but that can all be forgiven, In a time when comedies haven’t been that funny recently, it’s so refreshing to see a film where the audience are not just tittering but belly laughing. It also bodes well for the new Ghostbusters film.