Another collaboration between Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy, Spy is their take on the espionage genre. Given their previous successes with Bridesmaids and The Heat, another hit is on the cards, but is this one any good?
Lowly CIA analyst Susan Cooper (McCarthy), spends her time behind a desk helping out daredevil agent in the field Bradley Fine (Jude Law). Cooper yearns for more excitement in her life, but when Fine is exposed by Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), all agents are compromised. Boyanov is believed to be selling a nuclear device on the black market, and Rick Ford (Jason Statham), an enraged operative with his own agenda sets off in hot pursuit. His superior Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney) is forced to recruit Cooper to go out into the field and apprehend Rayna, starting off in Paris. With a deadly assassin following her every move, Susan finds herself working undercover for Boyanov as her security detail. The mission becomes a race against time, and increasingly dangerous, as Cooper is the only one who can save the day.
The cast is impressive, with Law and Statham playing up to their traditional screen persona’s. Statham starts off spouting nonsensical tall tales about his time in the field. His stories get wilder and wilder, and delivered in Statham’s usual intense tone, we get a hilarious series of memorable lines that will follow the actor through many films in the future.
Law plays the suave and sophisticated “Bond” type of spy, although thankfully the film steers clear of becoming a full on spoof of the 007 franchise. The humour, for better or worse, is largely in the tone that Feig and McCarthy have become known for already.
McCarthy plays the dowdy Cooper that goes against her more loud-mouthed and upfront characters for the first act. Eventually we see her get more aggressive, and that’s very much in keeping with what we have seen from the star in the past. The routine may be getting a little old now, but there is no denying it remain hugely popular with audiences.
The supporting cast all get some moments to shine, but Brit stars Miranda Hart and Peter Serafinowicz force through characters that don’t really belong in a production like this. Hart essentially plays her TV character here, and is given an unexpectedly lengthy amount of screen time.
Nice guy Serafinowicz is given the impossible task of playing a roguish Italian lothario, doubling as an agent himself. Its full over over-the-top mannerisms and even a late turn for the better isn’t enough to redeem the lowlight in the movie. Janny, however, is a foul-mouthed joy. Her brisk shutdowns of those around her, particularly McCarthy, are fantastic, if all too brief.
A lot of the jokes are more miss than hit. There are barren spells where an over-reliance us liking the characters from the start proves optimistic. Thankfully, when Rose Byrne is on screen, there is an electrifying energy that pulsates through the movie. Having proven how good she is with comedy in Bridemaids, its such a joy to see her again in this film, and she has some deliciously brutal putdowns for the rest of the ensemble cast.
This might never hit the heights of Bridemaids, but is funny enough to pass the time. We just hope that the next Feig/McCarthy project, the rebooted Ghostbusters movie, is done with a little more panache.