Spy may be the raunchiest movie Melissa McCarthy has starred in since becoming a superstar in 2011’s Bridesmaids. Her latest box office hit gives her a role that shows the full range of her acting and comedic chops. Likewise, director Paul Feig, known as one of the hottest comedy directors working today, shows that he has instincts and skills of to make a dynamic action thriller.
McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, a CIA analyst relegated to the bat-infested basement to provide intel and tactical support (via an earpiece) to Jude Law’s suave and debonair field agent, Bradley Fine. Together they make an exemplary team, although he’d be lost without her. Fine may be capable of killing a man with his bare hands, but his instincts suck. This is proven when Fine goes after Rose Byrne’s Rayna Boyanov, the daughter of a Russian gangster in possession of a suitcase nuclear bomb.
Cooper uncovers where Rayna lives and Fine goes in to apprehend the woman. However, Susan warns him about a gut feeling that he may be entering a trap. Ever the alpha male, Fine blows off her advice and gets killed by Rayna. Before shooting Fine dead, though, Rayna reveals to CIA HG (via Fine’s two-way communication) that she has the identity of every field agent the CIA has and that they’ll never be able to catch her.
Heartbroken and out for revenge, Susan convinces her tough as nails boss (Allison Janney- great as always) to let her go undercover since Rayna has no way of knowing who Susan is or what she looks like. Much to the chagrin of Jason Statham’s Rick Ford, an over-the-top macho assassin, Susan gets sent out in the field on a surveillance mission to track down Rayna’s.
Of course, Susan has no plan to just sit back and let someone else bring in Rayna. It turns out she was tops in her class in gunplay and taking down bad guys. In no time, Susan has infiltrated Rayna’s gang and feeding intel to the CIA. I won’t say how, that would take away from the delight and surprise of this movie.
After spending the past few years playing brash loud mouths, McCarthy returns to a sort of kinder, gentler role those of us familiar with her work on Gilmore Girls are familiar with. That said, there comes a moment in the film when McCarthy flips a switch and becomes a complete badass. This particular role really displays the depth of her talent. This may be her best performance yet.
McCarthy has a great cast to work with. Besides Law and Byrne, who have a great time sending up typical spy movie characters, there is Miranda Hart, as Susan’s best friend, Nancy, providing many of the films best laughs. The big surprise is Statham, poking fun at nearly every action hero role he’s ever played. It’s not just that he’s making fun of himself; he’s tearing himself to shreds and obviously having a blast doing it. Bobby Cannavale and Peter Serafinowicz also appear in hilarious parts.
Feig directs with the sure hand of an action pro. The chase scenes and fight sequences are perfectly choreographed and timed to perfection. As much as you’ll laugh at watching Spy, you’ll also grip your chair during the hand-to-hand combat.
Like I said, this is one raunchy film. Many of the insults that McCarthy lashes out at her co-stars are as blue as anything in a Seth Rogen or Jonah Hill movie. The whole cast is game at delivering dirty jokes; how they kept a straight face during production is beyond me.
The Blu-ray comes with many of the standard features you expect, gag reel, deleted scenes, and a commentary track with Feig. There are also many behind the scenes featurettes that detail the making of the film. Also included is an uncut version of the film adding ten minutes of material not seen in theaters.