Spy Review (2015)

The creator of Bridesmaids comes back at us with yet another highly entertaining, utterly hilarious, excruciating cheekbone experience. Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy have done it again. Take a loo break before – there are so many laughs jam-packed into this comedy, your eyes will be glued to the screen.

This new CIA action-comedy follows analyst Susan Cooper (McCarthy), providing support for operations from behind her desk, hideous, embarrassing and not taken seriously. But her presence in the field is needed to track down the arms dealers responsible for her partner’s death and the possessors of a nuclear weapon, led by spoiled daddy’s little girl, Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne). As it turns out Cooper is more than capable of working in the field, and her observe and report mission turns into a brutal take-down single-handed.

The hysterical dialogue provides most of the laughs. From subtle comments to streams of outrageous insults, every word spoken is the work of a genius. But it is Melissa McCarthy who carries the film, because without her delivery and her natural charisma, the wonder of the script would be lost. Yes, the cast is phenomenal – Miranda as a foolish side-kick was fantastic casting, her awkwardness and overwhelmingly average British-ness perfectly fitting, and a well loved face from England. I wish I could say the same for Jason Statham. His character is great, but his acting is inadequate to say the least. You can see him trying to act, and I cringed more than I laughed at his lines although I appreciated the dialogue. But others made up for this with hilarious moments provided from Allison Janney as the unimpressed boss, Peter Serafinowicz as the horny and wonderful Aldo, Morena Baccarin as the too perfect double agent Karen Walker, and finally Rose Byrne who for me was exceptional alongside McCarthy with her ‘pigeon arms’ and her ‘slutty dolphin trainer’ outfit.
So the combination of fabulous characters, master acting, and witty dialogue shows this brilliant comedy as a huge win.

The plot was well constructed, which determines this film’s success from previous action-comedy films which have provided the comedy but failed to deliver with a workable story. Spy created brilliantly original moments and thrived on the conventions of a typical spy film as a spoof but with added imaginative innovation. Perhaps more inter-links within the plot would perfected this aspect, the adjustable necklace the only sign of this which was too insignificant to provide any real successful comic irony. But this is picky as there is little to critique and the story worked well.

If anything, there was an over-reliance on dialogue, with less more subtle and intricate cues and details to provide more variety in the comedy. But the moments which did use this were some of the best – Aldo’s hand on Cooper’s breast, Rayna’s pathetic effort to pass Cooper the gun, the crazy fight scenes. A few moments were also a little cliché. The constant falling over and the ninja dash through the cars thing has been done too many times and didn’t impress as much as other moments. Particularly at the beginning, it took a while to understand and feel comfortable with the humour but this was only momentary and Spy managed to maintain its charm throughout.

There is no doubt that Spy is an exceptional comedy with ingenious characters, impressive acting, side-splitting dialogue and an interesting plot. Only a small few minor details prevented the film from perfection and in my opinion it didn’t have the subtlety and relate-able quality of Bridesmaids, but overall a very very funny film.
4 stars.


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