Spy

We had a busy weekend out-of-town but slid back just in time to make it to the drive-in and give this one the eyeball.

You know what I liked about this movie? A lot, actually. First, it’s not a spoof. Don’t call it a spoof. It’s a legit action movie that happens to also be funny. Second, it’s not funny because Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is bad at her job. She’s a top agent, extremely competent if rs_600x600-150401084422-600_Spy-Movie-Jason-Melissa_jl__040115somewhat reluctant. It’s funny because she’s not quite got that James Bond suaveness down pat – she still gets a kick out globe-trotting and being upgraded to premium economy. She hasn’t let the whole spy thing go to her head. Third, it’s not just the hero who’s a female – so is her sidekick (Miranda Hart) and her adversary (Rose Byrne), and they’re all great.

Its highest gear isn’t quite comparable to what Daniel Craig is doing over at Spectre, but there’s a kitchen knife fight that’s pretty intense and you can tell that a lot of work went into its choreography. McCarthy gets to stretch some muscles she hasn’t used in a while with a versatile performance rather than a crude caricature. But the greatest treat is that she’s isn’t funny alone; Feig has this great trickle-down effect where he expects everyone to get laughs, and they do, even the cutaway character reaction shots. The best laughs, though, probably come at the expense of Jason Statham, who welcomes them. Nobody else  75could have played it so well because the jokes don’t just hit back at the manly superagent type, but also specifically at Statham’s career, and he’s game. Obscenely game! And while McCarthy is undoubtedly the star, Feig gives everyone a chance to shine, because if funny is good, then very funny is very good.

Big applause to Paul Feig for being the only one who can truly write for Melissa McCarthy – and that includes McCarthy herself. In anyone else’s hands she turns into a clown. A big, crass joke who’s too obnoxious to appreciate. Feig doesn’t need to humiliate her. He elevates her with the right element, the right foil, and with good writing and the right context, she makes the movie sparkle, and she led this one right to the top of the box office this weekend, smoked right by those Entourage boys like the badass she is.

 

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28 thoughts on “Spy

  1. diahannreyes

    I enjoyed this film too. I thought this was a great showcase of her gifts and a different kind of spy story for sure. Glad to see her starring in a summer blockbuster.

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  2. thepreppymoviegeek

    I loved the movie for all the reasons you listed. McCarthy is brilliant and had me laughing from start to finish. I thought Miranda Hart did a particularly good job in this movie as well!

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  3. ruth

    Hi Jay, I’ve just started writing my review of this, too. Yeah I also had fun w/ this, I think it’s part spoof but part homage to the spy genre. I laughed a lot which is always nice as I wasn’t even expecting much.

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  4. fragglerocking

    good because I love Jason Statham movies and wasn’t too bothered about this when I heard of it, but will definitely be seeing it now. Wish we had drive in’s 😦 they do pop up ones in London and a couple of other places, but no proper ones like you have.

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  5. Maura

    The husband took me on a date night and had tickets to this movie without telling me what we were going to see. I have to say that I was disappointed when I saw the marquee with the movie name as I really want to see Entourage (having watched all of the TV episodes). But boy was I happy when we were done. What a wonderful and well done movie! Loved it. You are dead on with this review.

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  6. tubularsock

    Excuse me? “. . . to make it to the drive-in”. Is this movie that old? Tubularsock checked the calendar and yep, it’s still the 21st Century. Must be some kind of cosmic rewind going on Jay.

    Will have to check this movie out ……. often “funny” is difficult but you seem to understand that so it’s worth a shot.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Hi Teena! Seems like you’ll have lots of rainy days to choose from, plenty to spend in a theatre seeing a good movie.

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