Review: SPY (SXSW)

By Laurie Coker

Rating: A+

An all-star cast graces the big screen with Melissa McCarthy at the center of the new, hilariously funny summer comedy, Spy, that screened at SXSW this year. Jude Law and Rose Byrne and the ever macho Jason Statham join McCarthy in a fun spoof of espionage films. McCarthy, who walked the red carpet, made a quick stop on stage before the screening and I have say, she is dynamic and delightful and truly pretty.

McCarthy is Susan Cooper – a gifted and well-versed in everything spy related CIA agent, and she is completely overlooked by her bosses and teased by her co-spies, who believe that she is better suited to a behind the scene job. And why, not, since everything she does makes them look better. When Jude Law’s super, sexy spy goes missing in action, Susan gets a chance to leave her rat-infested office and go undercover to get him back and finish the case. Her overt excitement wanes when she sees her less than compelling costumes and boring secret identities. Instead of gowns and awesome cars, Susan gets frumpy clothing and scooters and weapons disguised as fungal spray and hemorrhoid wipes instead of pretty pens and cool gadgets. She gets disguises as a cat lady and a divorced mother alone on vacation. Still in spite of this, Susan surprises everyone, and McCarthy and director Paul Feig take audiences on a fun, thrill ride of laughter and intrigue.

A true parody of the genre, Spy captivates because of McCarthy’s deliriously funny portrayal of a less than typical agent, who finds herself in the thick of things.  Because her co-stars, typically serious actors, offer the ideal straight-men to her comedic prowess, she looks even better. It is McCarthy who carries this film; make no mistake, but Statham finds unexpected comic footing as a lucky Forrest Gump-esque, agent who thinks he is better than he really is. Bryne is amazing as Rayna a woman who is both shrewd and stupid. Rayna is Susan’s nemesis and oh, so amusing. Law is Bradley Fine, the pretty, James Bond-type spy, who Cooper secretly loves. Without Susan, he is just that, little more than a pretty face, who without her directions in his ear piece gets captured – thought dead.  Susan’s best friend, Nancy, is played by Brittan’s funniest gal, Miranda Hart and the scenes including this pair are a riot. But McCarthy outshines them all!

Thankfully limited on the filthy gags and jokes, Spy, rated R for language, and Feig gives me renewed hope in McCarthy, who tanked in films like Identity Thief and Tammy. She is better than just the fat, funny girl with a potty mouth and weight jokes and with Spy, she proves it. I am placing an A+ in my grade book. It is silly for silliness sake and shamelessly satirical in its views and I loved it!.

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