The beloved Melissa McCarthy seems to have as many hits as she does misses when it comes to her choices of movies that she appears in. She is a very funny lady with a talent that Hollywood hasn’t pin-pointed how best to use. She has been praised for her raunchy performance in Bridesmaids (2011), was just “so-so” in the Sandra Bullock buddy comedy The Heat (2013) and was panned equally for both Identity Thief (2013) and Tammy (2014). But in Spy, she shines.
Spy is one of the best comedies I have seen in years, but it was a harder “R” than I was expecting due to the large amount of profanity, violence and tasteless jokes. The thing is, the film didn’t need any of that to be funny. Those were not the things that this film great and unfortunately, tarnish it. As a Christian, there is much to be offended with here, but darn it, it’s is still very well done.
Set up like a James Bond knock-off, complete with it’s own Bond-like theme song and beginning titles, Spy is fun from the very beginning. McCarthy is absolutely adorable as Susan Cooper, a CIA analyst who works behind the scenes with special agent and partner Bradley Fine (Jude Law). She acts as his eyes and ears in the basement of a CIA office while he takes his life in his hands out on the field. However, when Fine “falls off the grid,” is it up to Cooper to go undercover to take over where he left off with her very first case out of the office.
Like Rodney Dangerfield, Cooper gets no respect in the choices of new identities that she is tasked with and her experiences as a spy is not as glamorous as she hopes. While on the field, she has to fight against rogue agent, Rick Ford (a hilarious but foul-mouthed Jason Stratham) from messing up her mission to find the infamous Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne). She is aided by fellow basement co-worker, Nancy (Miranda Hart) and is set free by boss woman, Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney).
There is a not a weak character in the bunch and McCarthy and Hart work incredibly well together. Sort of a Cagney and Lacey thing. Byrne plays evil very well and has an acid tongue that makes you long for her to get smacked. For a comedy, the film features a lot of well-done action/fighting scenes.
Although the movie features a great cast, McCarthy is the one who keeps it all balanced. The biggest issue I had with her character is that she is fairly mousey in the beginning and then later finds her voice while out on the field. To the filmmakers, that meant that she had to enlarge her potty-mouth vocabulary as well, which was not only unnecessary, but its comedic value worn thin pretty quick. The “F” word is thrown around with abandon and for a movie that spoof a Bond flick, it is a lot more foul than the films that inspire it. A few more edits could have made this film a lot more palatable to audiences. Susan Cooper is truly a “good guy” and a hero to root for. Expect to hear news of a sequel soon as this is sure to be a huge summer hit.