2015, R, 120 min. Directed by Paul Feig. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Jason Statham, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, Morena Baccarin, Peter Serafinowicz.
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., June 5, 2015
The Paul Feig/Melissa McCarthy comedy onslaught that began with Bridesmaids continues to crush everything in its path with this femme-centric parody of James Bond and Mission: Impossible-like hijinks. McCarthy gets top billing this time out, and although her Walter Mitty-esque, CIA analyst-cum-inadvertent superspy feels somewhat less brazenly comedic than her previous outings, there are enough laugh-out-loud moments to make this one of the better yuk-fests of the early summer movie season.
All involved would have been better served had the two-hour running time been shorn to a tight 90 minutes. Feig, who also wrote, opens fire with a veritable fusillade of gags, visual and otherwise, some of which hit their marks dead-on while many others ricochet off their intended targets or just plain fizzle out. Still, the cast is uniformly on-board for some seriously bizarro, against-type hilarity, foregrounding McCarthy’s initially mousy Susan Cooper against a range of talent that runs from Statham’s clueless been-there, done-that braggart Rick Ford to Serafinowicz’s endlessly scene-stealing, perpetually horny Italian ally Aldo (who recalls no one so much as Christopher Walken’s critically suave SNL character, the Continental).
The plot is little more than a mishmash of spy movie tropes – a briefcase nuke stolen by Byrne’s statuesque, Russian-y villainess; opulent European settings; roaring sports car daredevilry; Jude Law’s unflappability – but that’s really beside the point. Feig and McCarthy’s completely possible mission here is to generate laughs and transform Agent Cooper from a frumpy, lovesick Langley-basement operative into a full-fledged, ass-kicking, world-saving icon of full-figured female empowerment, with chuckles galore. In that, Spy succeeds with flying colors. If it’s not as satisfyingly wacky as the downright Dadaist 1984 spy parody high-water mark Top Secret, well, what is? This is a different sort of comedy that more or less succeeds on its own terms, despite that fact that you find yourself rooting for the post-Snowden CIA.