A desk-bound CIA analyst volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent diabolical global disaster.
‘Spy’ is a very funny action comedy that manages to get the best out of Melissa McCarthy after a series of unfunny post-Bridesmaids performances. Reteaming with ‘Bridesmaids’ director Paul Feig, ‘Spy’ tells the story of a desk bound CIA agent (McCarthy), who is thrust into the field to try to stop the black market sale of a nuclear weapon. The laughs are consistent and funny throughout, with Feig managing to find the right balance between physical comedy and quick fire gags. The film is paced perfectly, hurtling from location to location and allowing the script to move on to the next joke before you can linger on the last one.
The cast are all on the right wavelength in terms of playing the material sufficiently for laughs and hamming up where appropriate and that’s a big reason why ‘Spy’ is such great entertainment. Everyone has brought their A-game and the performances are hilarious right across the cast. Jude Law and Rose Byrne are performing as if they’re in a ‘Bond’ spoof, Peter Serafinowicz is wonderfully sleazy as an Italian/British agent and Jason Statham steals the show as a misguided and arrogant agent whose ability doesn’t match his ego (a nice bit of deconstructing Statham’s traditional film hardman image!). The exception to the rule is Miranda Hart, who is woefully out of her depth amongst the other cast members, almost to the point of ruining every scene she’s in. She’s not funny, she can’t act, and hopefully this’ll be the last time we see her on the big screen. Her presence did allow for one of the finest quips of the film however, when Rose Byrne’s character referred to her as an ‘asthmatic big bird’, so there is that!
Perhaps the biggest achievement in the film is in the early stages when Melissa McCarthy’s performance is subtle, and some could say even nuanced. This is a comedy, but we can relate to her feelings as she’s pigeon holed into less than complimentary groupings and given several unflattering disguises to wear. As the film moves into the latter stages, she becomes louder and more obnoxious but it feels like a natural progression in tandem with the plot and it mostly works. In terms of the actual plot, it’s fairly ridiculous but it functions as necessary to allow the opportunity for laughs, and it’s simple enough to follow so we can focus on the performances and the witty dialogue. The one thing worth pointing out is that the CGI and effects are fairly terrible for a fairly big budget Hollywood film, with a sequence featuring a character falling out a plane looking particularly amateur.
‘Spy‘ is an extremely funny action comedy, with terrific performances across the ensemble delivering numerous laugh out loud moments – great entertainment!
Directed By: Paul Feig
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Bobby Cannavale, Miranda Hart, Allison Janney, Peter Serafinowicz, Morena Baccarin, Nargis Fakhri and 50 Cent