5 out of 10

I’m not usually a fan of Melissa McCarthy nor Paul Fieg. I don’t go out of my way to see their projects together. But, Spy got rave reviews from the crew at Pop Culture Happy Hour, so when I found it at the local library on DVD, I checked it out.

The film follows (what we are led to believe is) an unassuming desk jockey at the CIA, Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy). She helps a super-agent, Bradley Fine (Jude Law), but when one of Fine’s missions goes sideways, she volunteers to go into the field. The main villain of the film is Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) who is out to sell a nuclear weapon. Of course, given that this is a spy film, there are double-crosses, mysteriously resurrected agents and lots of fights. There is even a Bondesque opening song sequence.

What I liked most about the film is that actors have been chosen to play against their types. Instead of being a bad-ass martial artist, Jason Statham as the bumbling agent. Jude Law is the suave, yet not suave agent. Rose Byrne as a bitchy villain. McCarthy as a super-agent.

The things I loved about the film:

  • Melissa McCarthy’s character was enjoyable and I liked how the character grew and had a full arc in the film.
  • Jason Statham is brilliant in his f-bomb-a-minute spy role. He should definitely do more comedy because he certainly has the chops for it.
  • Aldo the pervert foreign agent is hilarious.
  • Late in the film, there is an extended fight staged in a kitchen that includes the use of a knife and a pan. This fight sequence was excellent and felt very much like a Jackie Chan fight sequence – it mixed the use of common objects found in the room with comedy.
  • 50 Cent, you are the man.

While the film has an R-rating, I question the stream of f-bombs out of the film. It was like they were throwing them in just because they could. The f-bombs were not the only things overused in this film though. Since this is a parody on a spy-action film, I could understand the use of slow motion during the action sequences. But, they are abused and by the middle of the film, the slow motion had lost its effectiveness. The R-rating is also abused one other way and that is with the endless violence which mutes the comedy of the film. There could have been less bloody headshots throughout the film.

It was funny to see a gun standoff between the real husband and wife pair: Bobby Cannavale and Rose Byrne.

Overall, Spy was a nice escapist movie that made me laugh a few times. Has it convinced me to see more McCarthy films? Nope. This film was fun, moved along at a good pace and kept me entertained.