Thursday, May 21, 2015

Don't Judge This Movie by Its Bland Title; 'Spy' Is Comedy Gold

In Spy, Melissa McCarthy plays the part of CIA analyst Susan Cooper who volunteers to go on a field mission for the first time in her career so that she can continue the unfinished assignment of her partner, the debonair secret agent Bradley Fine (played by Jude Law), after he was seemingly killed by the arms dealer, Rayna Boyanov (played by Rose Byrne), whose house he was trying to infiltrate.  Finally given the opportunity to prove herself on the field, and maybe even avenge Fine, Cooper has to go undercover to prevent a nuclear arms deal from happening.

“Spy” is a boring, unimaginative title but the movie itself is anything but.  Countless spy comedy films, spoofs, and parodies have been made already, but this movie has ample original material to be distinctive and fresh.  At first, some of its plot elements reminded me of 2008’s Get Smart, but if there were similarities between the two movies, Spy did them a lot better.

Spy is comedy gold.  In fact, I think that it’s as funny as, or even funnier, in some aspects, than Austin Powers (probably the funniest spy film parody I’ve ever seen).  Paul Feig replicates in Spy the good comedic direction and sense that he previously displayed in Bridesmaid and The Heat, and the cast had robust comedic performances all around.

Most of the comedy is unsurprisingly hinged on Melissa McCarthy.  She is truly one of the best, if not the best, comediennes right now; she is Chris Farley incarnated as a woman – only better, in my opinion.  And this fact is as apparent in this movie as it was in The Heat (my most favorite McCarthy-starring film prior Spy), as her terrific performance really made her character a very likable heroine and easy to cheer for.  Can’t wait to see her being the Bill Murray in the all-female Ghostbusters reboot (which Feig will also helm – yay).

McCarthy’s supporting cast were great, too.  Rose Byrne has the funniest performance of her career ever, and displays enjoyable on-screen chemistry with McCarthy (I want a few more movies starring these two to be made); the insults that spew from their mouths are brutally hilarious.  Jason Statham’s tough guy demeanor is a perfect fit to the context of his character and successfully yields the comical effect intended.  Miranda Hart and Peter Serafinowicz also deserve honorable mentions.  As for Jude Law, except for that one early scene where he accidentally killed someone, his character lacks substantial comedic moments, but does a fine job being the James Bond personification that the story needs.

It’s still too early to say, but there is a strong case for Spy to end up as the best comedy film of 2015.  

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