Monday, May 18, 2015


Spy - 120min - R

I have been a Melissa McCarthy fan for a while. I absolutely love her but her movies are a different story. Even in her worst film I have found her performances to be good. In Spy, she has found her vehicle. This movie is outstanding. It gives her a believable edge and makes this plus size superstar into an action heroine without playing the action for laughs. They address her size but it's never the brunt of the joke unless its calling out the absurdity of the stereotypes. She kicks ass and I hope that they make more of these because this is a franchise I would want to see more of.

Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a support person in the CIA office and she supports handsome and debonaire but also douchey James Bond-type field agent, Bradley Fine (Jude Law). She performed well in training but was pulled in by the charms of agent Fine to stay behind the scenes and help him. She harbors a crush on Fine and when he gets killed she is forced into the field to find his killer.

The filmmakers could have gone for the easy joke and made McCarthy's body type the main joke in this film but they don't. They do address the absurdity of underestimating her range with each cover story being a cat lady who is a retired lunch lady or the divorced mother of three kids who has won a trip to Europe. The mission takes a turn and she needs to step up her game and persona and becomes just as influential and beautiful as her dashing counterparts. After spending the first part of the mission in frumpy old lady cloths she has to infiltrate a casino so she goes to the store and dresses the part and she looks stunning. Wearing a stunning evening gown she waltzes into the casino and carries on the mission.

Jason Statham plays Rick Ford, a field agent who is completely a loose cannon. He plays the baboonish, bully chauvinist pig really well. He adds just enough tension to the scenes with McCarthy to cause her problems without ruining the mission. His motivation is to find Fine's killer but goes against what HQ says and makes it his personal mission to solve this case before McCarthy can. As a comedic tool (I mean that in both senses of the word), he does an outstanding job of making those pig headed ideas seem as absurd as they are in real life. And it's nice to see Statham have light fun with a role.

The Director (Paul Feig) has again proven he has great sense of comedic timing and the ability to tell a great story. He is an experienced actor in his own right. I think it translates well to getting the best performances from his team. This one and Bridesmaids are some stand out films for him as a director.

The trailers do this movie a disservice. They play up some of the obvious body image jokes that are only a small portion of this film. I have said this before that the team who makes the trailers are trying to get people in the door. It's a shame that the film seems so shallow from the trailers because there is so much more going on here.

Is there a performer that you absolutely love and continue to love even if they are in some stinker films?

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