Synopsis – A desk-bound CIA analyst volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent diabolical global disaster.
My Take – Well, looks like I have finally found a Melissa McCarthy film that I have actually enjoyed! Its weird I know, but I tend to judge a movie sometimes based on the actors present in, obviously that doesn’t pan out always! Generally, despite the glowing reviews around the film, I would have preferred to skip this film if it had no other star value except for McCarthy! Luckily, director Paul Feig surrounds her with a superb supporting cast which finally allows her to carry a film. Unlike her previous bombs, Tammy, Identity Thief and The Heat, this movie put her in funny situations without being outright mean about her size. Yes, there are lots of jokes about how difficult it would be for a fat spy out in the field. But at the end of the day, the whole point of the movie is that she actually knows how to handle herself, and she’s a terrific spy despite her size. And she’s pretty handy in a fight, especially armed with a cast iron skillet.The idea of having Melissa McCarthy as an action hero would already make everyone predict that this film will definitely pander the comedian to be just the funny fat woman who may screw up her own mission caused by a number of outrageous antics. But the approach of the actual movie turns out to be a little smarter. Yes, it’s a spy comedy that somewhat mocks the genre, especially James Bond which one of the characters is basically a parody of him. But aside from that, on paper it’s just another spy movie, but with an odd choice of a hero. But with an extra ingredient of genuine laughs! Not too many action-comedy movies can pull off both its genres’ requirements, easily, and it will be a lot harder to maintain proportions between the conflicting elements and still able to come out with something, that’s both fun and crazy. But this one is a deliriously hilarious comedy and an exhilarating action extravaganza, is a stand-out exception.
The story follows Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) doesn’t strike as someone fit for a field agent work. She’s forty-something and fat, and she’s stuck behind a desk at a basement in a CIA headquarters. For many people, she may seem nothing, but for special agent Brad Fine (Jude Law)—whom she works for as his eyes and ears, using every possible technological marvels to relay real-time information—she’s a fatal weapon. Being stuck on that job works fine for her, until Fine suddenly gets assassinated by Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), the daughter of an international terrorist. With all the identities of their agents exposed, she volunteers to be sent to the field so she could avenge her partner’s death & stop her from selling a nuclear weapon despite the non stop apprehension of another top agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham). The film may come across as a Kingsman: The Secret Service reminiscence. It teams with brutal action and bloody stunt demonstrations, but presents an even more near-fatal doses of comedy, that would surely send you to the edge of your seat, while laughing your ass off. Director Paul Feig proves he has an outstanding grip of the film elements, & manages to keep the proportion between the action and comedy, acceptable. The incredibly well-choreographed fight scenes and exquisitely captured settings, add up to the level of greatness that this film has, to make it arrive into something never less than satisfying. There’s no telling whether the showcase of fun and action is going to end , nor there’s any hint of it slowing down at any moment. It’s insane, I mean, with all those surprising twists and turns you wouldn’t expect, it’s beautifully insane. Unlike many spy comedies today, this one doesn’t go as over-the-top! The main plot doesn’t exactly matter if you can follow it or not, and the movie does acknowledge it. The real story here is how the main hero doesn’t seem to cut out to this job. The film doesn’t downgrade this character either, Susan Cooper is actually good at being a desk-bound analyst and she really takes her job seriously. It’s just that the agency don’t wholly trust her due to her physicality and behavior, that she ends up being given with unimpressive identities. She’s clearly not that professional in the field and that also lead herself in some awkward situations, but you can see that she’s really trying to make things work. Again the film doesn’t pander into obvious humor, maybe sometimes, but that’s not the exact punchline. In fact, we do see the character grow into this duty that it almost seem to be an origin story, and that’s definitely the case. It’s trying to make her a new action hero for a franchise, but still sticking to the comedy roots, of course. Melissa McCarthy proves to be the strongest asset of this movie, coming out as fully capable of carrying out the demands of her role. Her transition from a timid analyst to an aggressive and cunning secret agent is fast and seamless, but once she’s on duty, she becomes something impeccably ready for deadly action. Melissa McCarthy totally owned this film as her own. In her previous films, her characters were very brash,loud and quite unlikeable.
But here, you immediately take a liking to her delightful Susan Cooper and you will be rooting for her for the whole film. Make no mistake, the familiar foul-mouthed McCarthy persona does make an appearance. But here, it is in line with her undercover spy duties. This is the third time writer-director Paul Feig is working with his favorite actress Melissa McCarthy. In “Bridesmaids”, McCarthy was funny as part of an ensemble of comediennes. In “The Heat”, she was funnier, sharing the screen with Sandra Bullock. Here, McCarthy is the funniest she has ever been. Even if the marvelous physical comedy skills of Melissa McCarthy is front and center on display here, you also cannot ignore the comedic talent displayed by the other actors in the cast, many of whom are more known for dramatic roles. Rose Byrne was so on point as the mega-snooty Raina Boyanov, so funny in her straight-faced over-the-top alpha-bitchy mode. The rich comedic rapport McCarthy and Byrne had with each other as mortal nemeses certainly buoyed the middle act. It was so surprising that this glamorous actress is not averse to physical comedy, as evidenced by Byrne’s comically painful scene as her character was pinned down under two heavy-set men while her private plane was having anti-gravity issues. Jude Law is a solid choice as Bradley Fine, a suave, tuxedo-clad James Bond like secret agent and charming lady killer. But without any doubts the show stealer is Jason Statham! We usually see him as the strong and silent macho hero taking up the cudgels of the oppressed in his many action films. He is still strong and macho, but whoa, Statham is definitely NOT silent here! This must be the first time I have heard him deliver lines in mile-a-minute speed as he proudly relates his many incredible career exploits. Never thought Statham could ever be funny. He excels in every single scene, he is present in! Miranda Hart as Nancy, Susan’s supportive friend and co-worker in their rat-infested CIA basement as well Roguish-looking Peter Serafinowicz who plays Aldo, Susan’s overly amorous Italian backup agent are also great! Bollywood actress Nargis Fakri is wasted. On the whole, ‘Spy’ is a naturally amusing film, which is sure to tickle your funny bone, while keep you hooked with its entertaining action pieces. While it may be easily branded as merely another attempt to duplicate the successes of its predecessors, an action comedy spy flick with heavier leaning on the funnier side. But ‘Spy’ is also everything else. It’s a suppressed love story about a fat middle-aged woman, harboring an intimate yet unrequited feeling for her partner. It’s also a story of an inferior’s struggle trying to get past a career level where she’s been long stuck at. The film easily surpasses what Feig and McCarthy have done before. It is funny as hell all right, and it even has a genuinely exciting spy story in itself. Must watch!
Director – Paul Feig
Rated – R
Run Time – 120 minutes