Spy (2015) – A Review
Director Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy reteam for a spy comedy.
Susan Cooper (McCarthy) is working at the CIA and has never gotten any field experience. Instead she assists super agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) on all his missions. Along with taking care of his laundry, his gardening and any other chores he asks of her.
The tide turns when Fine is killed on a mission and all the top agents identities are revealed to a big baddie in the form of Rose Byrne. Needing someone to go undercover to prevent nuclear weapons from falling into the wrong hands and to be used in very bad ways, Susan volunteers for the gig. She gets a crash course in being a spy, facing down bad guys and trying to save the day.
When I first saw the trailer for Spy I thought it looked like a very routine ‘spy comedy’ and after finally watching it that’s pretty much what I took away from it. Get Smart, Johnny English, Agent Cody Banks, Spies Like Us, The Man Who Knew Too Little, If Looks Could Kill – Spy is another member of that genre of comedies.
With these ‘spy comedies’ the overall story is usually pretty much the same. An inexperienced, incompetent character gets to step into the heroic agent role and somehow after much bungling and humor manages to succeed with their mission. Nukes, satellites, microchips, poison gas, assassination plans, whatever it may be, those are petty details they use as the hurdle in the story. They take that general template and start adding the comedy to it.
The thing that usually distinguishes each spy comedy for me is the lead actor and actors and what kind of comedy they’re going to be exploiting while their wielding a gun in exotic locales. That is typically the unique stamp that gets placed on this kind of movie.
And while I’m not a huge McCarthy fan, she has her moments in this. I don’t think she does anything here that’s not unexpected. She plays her part and she does fine. Some gags worked for me, others I didn’t really think much of. There’s a lot of those jokes where someone says something inappropriate or something unexpected happens and there’s an awkward silence and someone just starts rambling to fill it kind of jokes. Her fans probably love this flick since it is a great showcase for her brand of humor.
After hearing some people talking about how great Spy was I was somewhat confused as I watched it. I wouldn’t rank it as a ‘great comedy’, but what the heck everyone has their own taste.
Besides McCarthy Spy does have a pretty good supporting cast. Alison Janney, Rose Byrne, Peter Serafinowicz, they all do ok. Jason Statham really stands out though. He’s pretty funny as an arrogant, ultra-serious, dopey spy. I was actually surprised at how entertaining he was in this. I wished Morena Baccarin got more to do though. She looked gorgeous as usual, but she didn’t get much screen time.
It has its moments and some of the action is pretty well done. McCarthy has a knife fight in a kitchen that’s put together very well. Overall I thought it was just standard stuff, nothing really unique about it. If you enjoy McCarthy it should be a slam dunk.