Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Miranda Hart, Allison Janney, Morena Baccarin, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Serafinowicz, 50 Cent
Directed By: Paul Feig
Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy are a perfect team. She should avoid working with anyone else. This fact is completely clear when you realize that he has directed McCarthy in Bridesmaids, The Heat, and Spy, which are her arguably three funniest films. Identity Thief and Tammy? Someone else. Hopefully there’s a Spy 2, because I clearly felt a franchise being born here. Spy is everything Melissa McCarthy needed to prove she could anchor a film. She’s the actual star this time, and it’s really good. She’s not sharing the spotlight with Sandra Bullock, or stealing the spotlight from the other girls in Bridesmaids. Here, this is her movie, and she owns it.
I think the other two were slightly funnier, but this one is more of an Action/Comedy in the way that Beverly Hills Cop actually worked in both genres. It works as a spy movie, as well as a comedy. Sure, it’s hard to believe McCarthy can be a badass secret agent, but given the circumstances in the movie, it becomes rather easy to see her as that. She plays Susan Cooper, a desk agent who works at a computer as the eyes and ears for Bradley Fine (Law), a James Bondish agent who she secretly has a crush on. When a mission goes awry, Fine is lost in the field, and all of the field agents are taken out of play. Susan, not a field agent, volunteers to go out into the field and get the intel they need. Her mission is to follow Rayna (Byrne), a spoiled brat version of a terrorist, much to the chagrin of remaining field agent Rick Ford (Statham), who quits the CIA and goes rogue to solve the situation himself. Hilarity ensues.
McCarthy’s supporting cast all works perfectly in their roles, probably none more so than Jason Statham, who uses his gruff typical personality and perfect straight face to attack his role and make it completely believable. His role is to be so unbelievably badass in reputation, but deliver none of that in any actual situations. He’s used really well here. Other actors would have tried to make a shtick out of it, but Statham’s commitment to doing this as seriously as possible is what works. Byrne is great also, and Miranda Hart has a breakout role as Susan’s BFF and support.
If I had one big complaint, which I do, it’s that I could tell… a lot… that stunt doubles were being used. I need to rewatch the film, but Melissa McCarthy’s stunt double might have been a man at times… I’m not 100% sure. You only see them for a fraction of a second, but they’re clearly NOT who they’re supposed to be. Do a better job with that.
Spy is worth your time, worth your money, and will deliver on both the action front, and in the laughs department. If you’re a fan of McCarthy, but are worried that Spy is just another Tammy waiting to happen… don’t be. This isn’t Tammy. This is McCarthy owning what makes her special, and finally stepping out front and center. It’s really good to see someone who has played second fiddle so long to finally be able to rock her own movie, and rock it well.
FINAL GRADE: A-