‘Spy’

Another Paul Feig and Melissa McCartney film. That sounds mildly derogatory. It’s not. I immensely enjoyed both Bridesmaids and The Heat. First rom-com then buddy comedy and now action/spy film, Feig and McCartney continue with their genre hopping to continued success.

The poster makes it look awful. I wouldn’t watch that film.

Like in Bridesmaids, Melissa McCarthy plays a desk CIA operative. Here she is Susan Cooper, the eyes and ears of Jude Law’s James Bond-esque spy, who is killed early in the film by Rose Byrne’s Rayna Boyanov. Rayna, it transpires, knows all of the CIA agents. As such, Susan is sent into the field. Hilarity ensues.

This is a genuine action film, and the cross appeal must have helped it immensely in achieving its $203.5million box office to date. Each of the scenes could have been lifted from a ‘real’ action movie, but comedy is added to each of the situations without ever feeling shoved in or even a spoof. You want Susan to win. There are real plot twists. The action sequences are visually very stunning.

Good for Paul Feig who clearly is a very versatile Director who can cross genre with ease and without ever losing the jokes. As a testament to how good an action film it was, I can say that I was on the edge of my seat on several different occasions.

In addition to the solid plot – which I won’t bore you with. If you like action films, you’ll like this. Unless you hate women, then maybe not – the strength comes from the characters. Rose Byrne has gained a lot of praise for her portrayal of Rayna, and she does undeniably kill it in this role (pun not intended). She is the terrifying femme fatale who is also utterly ridiculous and she manages to add textures to a character that could otherwise have just become another one dimensional villain, without the wink (and the ridiculous accent and hair).

The film also made me, for the first time ever!, like Jude Law, Jason Statham and Miranda Hart. Jason Statham was the particular highlight for me, playing a moronic pseudo-parody of the types of character that he usually plays in action films that I never watch (Crank, The Transporter, The Bank Job, etc). Plus Peter Serfinowicz comes in as a randy Italian agent. I’ve just been to Italy and it was quite a genuine portrayal of many of the Italian men that I came across. I did wonder why they cast Serafinowicz, but the end reveal made it worth it. Also, and how could I nearly forget, Allison Janney was perfect as the head of the CIA. Cast Rose Byrne and Allison Janney in everything.

The star really is McCarthy though. I haven’t watched Tammy or Mike and Molly, so maybe I haven’t quite gone through McCarthy overload yet, but I feel that she is never given enough credit. She is consistently funny and there are certainly several different shades to Susan’s character here, all of which are presented deftly by McCarthy. Plus she looked bloody great in ALL of her outfits and convincingly showed off her action chops – although in the kitchen scene seemed to be body double work (Hollywood!).

As with many action films, the ending was just okay. Unlike other action films, it hasn’t been left as sequel bait, which is much appreciated.

7/10 – Feig brings the funny yet again. Worth a watch.

 

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