By: Bryan Montgomery
Rating: 8 out of 10
Paul Feig has been on a roll over the last several years. Beginning with 2007’s Knocked Up, the director has rattled off several major hits, including Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, The Heat and, perhaps most famously, Bridesmaids. The latter film introduced major American audiences to Melissa McCarthy, who has since gained fame over the past years. McCarthy’s newest film, Spy, is a great take on the classic secret agent caper, injecting enough fresh humor to compensate for a formulaic plot.
Susan Cooper (McCarthy) is the premiere analyst for CIA Agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) when the agency is threatened after the names of Agents are leaked, the Deputy Director of the CIA (Allison Janney) is forced to allow Cooper to take point on a key mission, stopping Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) from selling and using a nuclear bomb.
As would be the case in a film like this, McCarthy is the driving force, and she does a great job in the lead role, injecting some outstanding humor, both dialogue- and action-driven, to prove as a strong leading woman.
Feig has given McCarthy her fair share of great roles, but this is only the second time that she has been in a staring role on her own, the first if you want to be gracious and forget that Tammy ever hit the air waves, and McCarthy comes through in fine fashion, doing everything a leading woman should do in her role.
In addition to McCarthy’s fine job in the leading role, Spy’s primary attraction comes from the incredible supporting cast. Law does great in his limited role, and Janney is absolutely hilarious in the small moments she has. Miranda Hart, a British actress, plays a memorable role as Nancy B. Artingstall, Susan’s best friend in the CIA. Hart gives McCarthy a solid run for her money as the quick-hitting, awkward Nancy, especially towards the end when she changes from desk jockey to super-spy. Complimenting Nancy is 50 Cent, who enters the film for no other reason than to throw in some random star power and nostalgia.
Despite the star-studded cast, the actor who steals the show is Jason Statham. For an actor who has gained considerable fame for his action roles over the last 10 years, Statham is absolutely hilarious in this self-parody role. There are other members of the cast that certainly pull their weight, Rose Byrne as the villain of the film is the first that comes to mind, but no one matches the laughs that come from Statham. Anyone who is unsure on watching this film should YouTube the “Real Spy” clip and just listen to the ludicrous exposition spewed about by Statham. You can tell that the guy had the time of his life filming this movie, and it shows with a truly hilarious turn as the Statham we all know and appreciate.
The plot, although formulaic, moves along at a strong pace. Perhaps one of the strongest aspect of Spy’s plot is the redundancies within the plot, it allows the viewer to look away from the progression of the story on the screen and rather appreciate the hilarity that ensues. Spy is an obvious parody of the secret agent genre, which makes the film only so much more enjoyable and worthwhile.
In a world where oversaturation has become commonplace, Spy does everything necessary to become another memorable entry into the long line of recent comedy films. While it won’t reach the heights of a Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up or Bridesmaids, Spy rises above the majority of comedies simply by being itself; a movie meant to parody a genre, driven by a single actor. It might not rank in the top five or 10 comedies over the last five years, but overall, Spy is easily among the best comedies 2015, and that’s an accomplishment on its own merit.