Review: Spy Isn’t Great But So Far It’s Best Comedy Of 2015
Director: Paul Feig
Screenwriter: Paul Feig
Principal Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Jason Statham, Miranda Hart, and Bobby Cannavale
Summary: A desk-bound CIA analyst volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent diabolical global disaster.
This has not been a good year for comedies thus far. Get Hard (offensive) and Hot Pursuit (terrible). When I saw the trailers for Spy I was not exactly looking forward to it. In fact I was almost dreading having to sit through yet another awful comedy. I was almost hoping this was going to be another case where I enjoyed a movie even a little because I went in hoping it was going to be terrible.
Spy isn’t going to change anyone’s life, but thanks to how well Melissa McCarthy is suited to the action comedy genre and a great comedic turn by Jason Statham the overall movie is probably the best comedy we’ve seen so far this year.
As far as the story goes Spy isn’t anything really amazing. There have been parodies of the spy genre for as long as there has been a spy movies and most of them are rather similar. In this case it’s an analyst Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) that has to go into the field because the person they are trying to find knows all of the CIA’s spies so they would see them coming. The plot is kicked off by a mistake that wouldn’t happen in the real world; Bradley Fine (Jude Law) is trying to find out where a nuclear weapon is being held. He has a gun pointed at the one person who knows where it is, sneezes and the gun goes off killing the only lead. Perhaps it’s because I had someone who taught me how to shoot, but something like that happening bothers me a little because I know what trigger discipline is. (This is something that bothers me in almost all movies, though.)
There are two things that really make Spy work; the first is that Melissa McCarthy is really well suited to the action genre. McCarthy is a funny lady but most of the time the jokes are weight related since she is a heavier lady. This is kind of a lazy trope that I wish writers wouldn’t rely on. The jokes at McCarthy’s looks in this, however, mostly seem to come from the fact that she tends to wear unflattering clothing because she is given really terrible uncover personalities. Raina (NAME), our villain, makes lots of comments about Susan’s looks but never makes a weight joke. McCartney is best when she is paired with fellow analyst Nancy (Miranda Hart) because they have a perfect balance of “funny” and “being afraid for a friend”.
The other thing that I think is really going to surprise people is how well Jason Statham does in a comedy role. His character of Rick Ford is basically a giant parody of all of the tough bad asses that Statham has been playing for his entire career. Instead of being super serious (and we’re supposed to be impressed by all the crazy things he’s done) it sounds like he’s completely out of his mind. His over the top action hero meshed with the McCarthy’s Susan Cooper who is much more grounded is hilarious, and the two of them have some really great banter. However, the other male character is an Italian agent named Sergio (Bobby Cannavale) that is a walking stereotype. He is constantly making sexual comments and even gropes Susan on more than one occasion. He’s really the weakest link in the entire cast because he didn’t come off as funny to me.
Spy surprised me with how funny that it turned out to be. As far as comedies go this is the best one that we’ve had so far, and while it didn’t blow my mind or split my sides I did laugh quite a few times. I’m looking forward to seeing more of McCarthy in the action comedy genre and Statham in comedy in general.