SPY (director/writer: Paul Feig; cinematographer: Robert Yeoman; editors: Brent White/Melissa Bretherton; music: Theodore Shapiro; cast: Melissa McCarthy (Susan Cooper), Jude Law (Bradley Fine), Jason Statham (Rick Ford), Rose Byrne (Rayna Boyanov), Raad Rawi (Boyanov), Miranda Hart (Nancy), Bobby Cannavale (Sergio de Luca), Allison Janney (Elaine Crocker), Peter Serafinowicz (Aldo), Morena Baccarin (Karen Walker), Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (Himself), Richard Brake (Solsa Dudaev); Runtime: 117; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Paul. Feig/Peter Chernin/Jenno Topping/Jessie Henderson; 20th Century Fox; 2015)
“A funny spoof of the James Bond spy films.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A funny spoof of the James Bond spy films. It adds loads of zingers to the action genre, as it blends together comedy and action. Writer-director Paul Feig(“Bridesmaids/“/”The Heat“/”I Am David”) customizes the film for the likable Melissa McCarthy‘s comedy routine of being a loser who gains confidence as things move along and morphs from a sad sack to a hero. Ms. McCarthy is in full-glory in this starring role, her best movie role yet.
Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a long-time unassuming desk-bound CIA analyst, who joyfully works in a rodent-infested office and thrills at supporting suave super-spy CIA agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law), her secret love, from her desk while he operates in the dangerous field. Bradley, of course, receives all the credit while she remains the unsung hero. When Bradley is supposedly killed trying to recover a nuclear weapon from a Bulgarian nuclear-arms dealer, her boss, the no-nonsense bossy deputy director of the CIA, Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney), reluctantly assigns the desk-only agent to the field because a double-agent mole gave away the names of all the field agents and only Susan is still unknown to the enemy. Bradley accidentally killed the Bulgarian baddie Boyanov (Raad Rawi), the father of Rayna (Rose Byrne), the sadistic spoiled-brat daughter. Since she’s now the only one who knows where dad hid the nuke, the agency makes her their number one priority. It’s up to Susan to track her down before the bomb can be delivered to terrorists for a possible global disaster. The compromised macho agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham) quits when not assigned to go after Rose and after a hissy fit goes rogue trying to get to Rose before she sells the nuke.
The action leaves Bulgaria for Paris, Rome and Budapest, and climaxes at Lake Balaton. Susan, in different disguises and aliases, goes globe-trotting around the world in pursuit of the baddies. She’s initially helped on the desk by her clumsy nervous best friend analyst colleague Nancy (Miranda Hart), a tall and slim Brit version of Susan, until Nancy joins her in the field. An amped-up Rick, boasting about being immune to death, keeps showing up to help, but in most cases it’s Susan who helps him. In Rome there’s some occasional field help from the lecherous Italian agent Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz), a lovable groper.
We soon learn the buyer of the nuke is the Al Qaeda-connected materialistic terrorist Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale). While tracking the slippery ruthless thug down there are a few twists, more silliness and plenty of fat-lady jokes, profanity and crude humor, before Susan takes the action up a notch to even top 007.
Enough of the zingers hit the mark to keep things amusing, and Ms. McCarthy, who might always play the same role, nevertheless shows that when the material, the directing and supporting cast are good, her films have a certain winsome sparkle that appeal to the masses. The pic also makes some serious valid points about how women are treated by Hollywood as action heroes. Though I must say the film was overlong for such a raunchy farcical comedy and it would have benefited from some pruning.
REVIEWED ON 6/5/2015 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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