With Spy, we have yet another Melissa McCarthy comedy. However, she usually excels when paired with director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat).
In Spy, McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, a CIA analyst stuck in a forgotten basement in CIA headquarters. She is the voice in ear of super spy Bradley Fine (Jude Law). Soon after the movie begins, the identity of every spy is compromised and Susan is the only one who can find a nuclear bomb before it’s sold to terrorists.
Even as she is sent into the field, she is followed by rogue CIA agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham). He doesn’t trust her to actually succeed at getting into Raina Boyanov’s (Rose Byrne) inner circle.
Even though Susan was relegated to the basement, she actually has dangerous close combat skills. She manages to become trusted by Raina and travels through Europe all while doubling as a frumpy cat lady.
The first act of Spy is undeniably funny. Feig knows how to balance physical comedy with crass jokes and make it feel fresh. McCarthy’s performance is nothing new. She has made a career of being the familiar odd-woman-out that consistently embarrasses herself. She appears in 98% of the scenes, so she must carry the movie. Thankfully, the supporting cast is just as strong.
Jason Statham steals the movie by his monologues alone. I say monologues, because he never lets anyone speak or interrupt him. He is used sparingly, which is clever, because you don’t get sick of him.
At nearly two hours, you get sick of everything else. The movie never seems to end. It could have been a crisp 90 minutes. The third act is full of double crosses and false endings. Feig is a student of Judd Apatow and it shows. Neither know when to end a movie.
Beyond the comedy, nothing feels fresh. Feig, who also wrote the script, took several pages from “How to Write a Spy Movie.” The story is nothing new and it almost feels that it was on purpose. Feig didn’t want you to get lost in the plotholes, but rather wanted your attention on every joke.
It was great to see women run the show, on both the heroic and villainous side, something that we never see this side of Bond. This is the second of three spy spoofs releasing this year (with Kingsman and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.) While Spy opens strong, it can’t match Kingsman: The Secret Service in terms of fun and outright shock.
If you’re looking for a comedy this weekend, Spy is a far better choice than Pitch Perfect 2 or Entourage. On the whole, it’s a decent rental. C+