Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Movie with Abe: Spy

Directed by Paul Feig
Released June 5, 2015

Anyone making a spy movie wouldn’t think of Melissa McCarthy as the first choice to be the star. On the other hand, headlining a comedy about an unlikely spy who spent her entire career behind a desk going into the field with an absurd cover is a much more fitting role for the comedienne. McCarthy is only the main star vehicle for this relatively absurd and occasionally on-point Golden Globe-nominated action comedy filled with other strong, funny turns in an overall silly experience.

“Spy” begins by firmly establishing the circumstances and roles in which its characters exist. Bradley Fine (Jude Law) is the impossibly charming spy who spends his days in the field infiltrating terrorist networks and taking down bad guys, and McCarthy’s Susan Cooper is the voice in his ear who helps him pull off daring feats and stunning takedowns. Fine’s untimely demise at the hands of the villainous Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) prompts the CIA to send Susan in undercover, disguised as what can most accurately be called a cat lady, to find her and stop the sale of a deadly weapon to an even more evil party. In her transition to full-fledged field agent, Susan is assisted by Nancy (Miranda Hart), filling in for her former duties behind the desk and the microphone, and derailed constantly by the overconfident, inept agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham).

This film’s premise is that Susan is not at all fit for field duty and that, naturally, the only option for her to pose as in order to fool anyone would be a friendless mess. That’s how it’s set up from the start, and while both Rayna and Rick insist on continuing to look at Susan that way, everything changes once she actually gets into the field. It turns out that Susan is full of vicious and lewd insults, and such comments are hurled back and forth for the majority of the film’s second half, with most of them first coming from Susan. McCarthy is fun though this isn’t her best performance, and Byrne and Statham are the comedic standouts, showing that they might want to think about sticking to this genre more in their regular film work. This film is entertaining to be sure but hardly the resounding comedy classic it thinks it is.


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