When Melissa McCarthy stars in a film, the audience is nearly certain that it’s going to be a comedy flick filled with gaffes and pratfalls. However, recent films like Tammy and Identity Thief proved to be disappointing for her fans. Has McCarthy managed to change that with her gun-swinging, James Bond-esque avatar in Spy?
Written and directed by Paul Feig, Spy is the story of Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy), a sharp analyst who is stuck in a behind-the-desk job. She assists suave CIA agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) in all his missions. Cooper has the strongest of desires to be out in the field and yet ends up being merely a voice in Fine’s hidden earphone. Nevertheless, Fine considers Cooper to be the best partner he could ever have. But, his mission to find a nuclear weapon brings Fine face to face with the Bulgarian mafia king-pin Raina Boyanov (Rose Byrne) and things take an unfortunate turn. Raina seems to know everything about all the CIA agents involved in the mission…except the identity of that little voice in Fine’s earphone. It’s only natural then, that Cooper step in as an undercover agent to trace the mafia and find the dreaded weapon.
Spy is an out-and-out entertainer. Melissa McCarthy successfully pulls off Melissa McCarthy with this one. In fact, it may not be an overstatement to consider Susan Cooper as McCarthy’s best performance to date. She is seldom over-the-top and almost never misses her timing. Cooper’s character is certainly well-written and McCarthy does justice to it as well.
There’s another show stealer here – Jason Statham. Statham plays Rick Ford, an ex-CIA agent who won’t give up till the nuclear weapon is found. He trusts no one but himself for this mission and Cooper’s appointment as the undercover operative only makes matters worse for his ego. Statham is hilarious as the tall-talking, aggressive and self-obsessed Ford. He is responsible for some of the hardest laughs during the movie. Statham manages to maintain a straight face when saying some of the most ludicrous things like, “I lost my arm during a mission and sowed it back myself.” His encounters with McCarthy are absolute highlights.
The film is a laugh riot, with smart dialogue, consistently hilarious plot developments and delightfully ridiculous characters. In most places, Feig has managed to keep the action quotient intact without letting the humour drop. It’s commendable that Spy manages to be a globe-trotting adventure, dramatic, fast-paced and funny at the same time.
The only problem with Spy is its latter stage, where the film seems to drag. If the last few action sequences were trimmed down a bit, Spy would have been an almost perfect film in the action-comedy genre.
All in all, Spy is an entertaining watch. Audiences who have liked McCarthy’s style of humour thus far will not be disappointed. The actress has certainly redeemed herself. There’s just one condition you might have to follow to enjoy this film: forget what ‘logic’ means for about two hours.
THE REEL SCORE: 8/10