If Austin Powers was the ultimate Bond parody, Spy is the ultimate Ms Moneypenny satire; where you find the woman behind the desk who has been so defined by playing second fiddle to her male counterparts is the only person that they can count on to avenge a fallen agent and save the world.
From the outset you think that it’s going to be some kind of bumbling lady Pink Panther character but the mastery of writer/director Paul (Bridesmaids) Feig’s script is that McCarthy’s Susan is actually an agent with the capability to kick ass and unfortunately got ‘honey-dicked’ into whispering into the ears of Jude Law’s picturesque Bradley Fine instead of pursuing a career in the field. Susan genuinely has skills, albeit very rusty ones, that start to flourish as the film progresses. She’s not immune to throwing-up at the sight of something grotesque or fainting, and in that order; but nonetheless you’re firmly in her corner.
McCarthy does a fantastic job with Susan; she can immediately find that Gilmore Girls sweetness when the role calls for it. However, when she goes into the field she finds a groove as the ass-kicking, insult machine gun. Feig and McCarthy craft the role in such a way that it makes sense for that sweet office facade, suited to the CIA dungeon is shed as soon as she gets a make-over. Despite every ridiculous physical stunt, you’re willing to suspend your disbelief because you’re such a fan of the character. Any scene that McCarthy is verbally facing off against Rose Byrne is magic. Byrne is one of the most underrated comedic performers working today. Whether it’s side-splitting support in Bridesmaids, surprise filth in Neighbours (a.k.a Bad Neighbours) or now ‘C-word’ level bitchiness as villainess Rayna Boyanov; she delivers a barrage of soft balls for her bigger counterparts to knock out of the park.
Holy hell is Jason Statham hilarious, doing the most convincing parody of himself that you could ever hope for. One imagines that Paul Feig has been sitting at home muting the TV every time a Statham character is talking to replace the dialogue with the streams of nonsense that you hear throughout the film. This is Statham doing a ‘Skynet’ and becoming self aware at the peak of his career; more please.
Jude Law has the looks of a jet-setting international spy, looking like a young Michael Caine and dripping of Roger Moore level narcissism. He’s along for the ride, but funnily is being made to look better at his job with Susan’s covert instruction in his ear. Jessica Chaffin is another one in a line of hilarious ladies that emerge as support cast in Feig helmed comedies. Chaffin’s Sharon is that bumbling character that you’re sure is more of a hindrance to every mission that she assists. She seems more suited to being in charge of spinning the balls at a retirement village bingo than missions to save the world.
You’d be hard pressed to find a consistently funnier film than Spy in 2015. Just when you thought that McCarthy saturation was at a critical level, Feig’s satire sneaks in and reminds you why she’s one considered on of the funniest women on the planet.
Blake Howard – follow Blake on Twitter here: @blakeisbatman
Directed by: Paul Feig
Written by: Paul Feig
Starring: Jude Law, Melissa McCarthy, Jessica Chaffin, Miranda Hart, Rose Byrne, Morena Baccarin, Jason Statham, Bobby Cannavale
Jude Law … Bradley Fine
Melissa McCarthy … Susan Cooper
Jessica Chaffin … Sharon
Miranda Hart … Nancy B. Artingstall
Rose Byrne … Rayna Boyanov
Morena Baccarin … Karen Walker
Jason Statham … Rick Ford
Bobby Cannavale … Sergio De Luca