I have to admit, the trailers for Paul Feig's latest comedy, Spy, made me laugh. However, the trailers seemed to give away so much, that I had low expectations for the film.
PLOT - When CIA agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) is killed on the job, Susan Cooper ( Melissa McCarthy) is thrilled to finally get her shot at being a spy in the field, rather than stuck behind a desk. Susan is picked, not only for her skills, but primarily because she is the only capable agent who has not had her identity compromised. She is sent to France to go undercover and gather intelligence involving the sale of nuclear weapons. Cooper's job is made a lot tougher by the interference of rouge agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham) and the dangerous arms dealer's daughter, Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne).
LIKE - To my complete surprise, the trailers gave very little away. Spy has many unexpected twists and we were laughing the entire way through. We saw comedian Eddie Izzard at the Hollywood Bowl Saturday night ( review coming soon) and we laughed far more during Spy, than we did with Izzard show. Really! It's very obvious that this cast had a ton of fun making Spy and it just shines through. Spy reminded me of Anchorman because it had so many moments where the lines felt like they were improvised.
The story is solid, but the biggest element of Spy is its quirky cast of characters. Statham stole the show playing a not-too-bright agent, who embellishes every story that he tells. Byrne is perfectly cast as an ice princess who can either dole out a cutting remark or actually murder anyone who stands in her way. Miranda Hart plays Nancy, Susan's very lovable friend and fellow desk agent. Nancy is the best friend that every woman should have.
I've been a fan of McCarthy since she played Sookie St. James in Gilmore Girls, so it was fantastic to see her in a kick-ass role. The film is full of really intense fight sequences and McCarthy is in the thick of them, not a passive character. There is a fantastic knife fight in a restaurant kitchen that must have taken weeks to choreograph. Susan and Nancy are both strong female characters, who save the day, rather than waiting to be rescued. Nancy is smart, sometimes fighting physically, but often outwitting her opponents. Although there is a lot of comedy involving dressing McCarthy up as frumpy characters when she goes undercover, she is also allowed to be a beautiful, sexy woman. With the violence and language, this isn't a movie for kids, but I did appreciate that it has great female characters.
DISLIKE- Yes, the film is silly and some of the plot points don't make sense. Why was it so easy for Cooper to escape from the kidnappers? However, I let things slide, since the movie was not supposed to be realistic. I mean, the Bond films have a lot of goofy elements and Spy is a comedy send-up of Bond. My suspension of disbelief was turned on and that allowed me to enjoy the film.
RECOMMEND- Yes!!! We saw it on a Sunday afternoon and the theatre was absolutely packed with a great audience response when exiting. Spy is a fun ride. It's unexpected and better than its trailers. I really hope that Feig makes a sequel. Make sure to stay through all of the credits.