Oh the delightfully delirious world of comedy spy films. Taking the unassuming and often grossly incompetent spy and putting them straight in the line of enemy fire is a formula that has been re-used time and again, so it comes as no surprise that notable funny woman Melissa McCarthy should be headlining a film of this nature.
Aptly entitled Spy, McCarthy assumes her form as Susan Cooper, a socially awkward desk-bound CIA agent who spends her time dreaming of bigger things, and about her suave team-mate Agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law). Cooper’s chance eventually arrives when the trail of a suitcase nuclear bomb goes cold and the names of company agents are leaked. With no one left to go into the field to track down the bomb and spy on De Luca (Nargis Fakhri), Susan steps up to the plate. Granted, this sounds like a painstakingly awful and repetitive premise for a movie and you’d be forgiven for thinking this would be destined to wind up in a bargain bin in the not-too-near future. But you’d be pleasantly surprised and undoubtedly wrong. Spy subverts traditional conventions and expectations, with McCarthy’s Cooper more than capable of handling herself in extreme situations (possibly a little too well), providing audiences with laugh after laugh through her impeccable comedic timing and delivery. It’s a definite step up from Tammy and shows audiences what she can really do when she’s in her element; a true testament to her talent.
Spy sees McCarthy find herself several unlikely comedy partners, in the form of Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart and Jason Statham. Byrne portrays rich villain Rayna Boyanov, and the two have an unlikely on-screen chemistry, dishing out hilarity at an alarming rate considering the diversity in their characters. Hart and McCarthy as Susan and Nancy are the ingenious odd-couple who ooze comedy and it’s a wonder no one has thought of pairing the two up before. Similarly, Statham is the perfect embodiment of a spy spoof, it’s safe to say you’ll never look at Statham in an action film the same way after you hear his ridiculous one-liners and arrogant speeches that bend the laws of physics and logic.
Director Paul Feig proves that he is on top of his game in this unashamedly bold and entertaining take on classic espionage films, which utilizes its ensemble cast to full effect. Despite starting off slow at the beginning and taking a good few minutes to fully get going, Spy delivers a competent story that is so intertwined with riotous action and side-splitting humour you may forget to stop laughing well after the credits have rolled.
(Image Credit: Twentieth Century Fox, 2015.)