Susan Cooper is woefully out of her depth and bumbles through her mission to stop a nuke falling into the wrong hands. It is contrived, but the whole truth is more refreshing – she is actually a very capable spy who’s been unwittingly prevented from progressing by her James Bond-alike partner, Bradley Fine (Jude Law). All Susan lacks is confidence, and she finds it when staring down the barrel of conniving Rayna Boyanov’s (Rose Byrne) gun – even if this confidence is, essentially, a re-run of her sweary cop from The Heat.
This is a film that simply shows the same brand of McCarthy humor we’ve seen before, unabashedly raunchy, sometimes to a fault, and burdened by a very hit or miss array of jokes along the way. Feig and McCarthy, yet again, seem to be spitballing ideas here, trying to find what works for her in the vein of physical comedy, dialog, and situational events and finding a ground that’s more solid than the terribly loose “Tammy” but less appealing than the chemistry-driven “Heat.” It’s a hodgepodge of epic proportions in terms of the direction of its humor, along with being seriously confused about its presentation as an action-comedy.
We’ve seen these same tropes before in action films gone past, where there is some sort of fabled device up for grabs by numerous different parties and police are summoned or somebody is sent undercover. At first, “Spy” recognizes that it’s essentially operating on well-charted territory and decides to toy with the general quips and clichés of the genre. However, just about the same time the script decides to amplify Melissa McCarthy’s vulgarian tendencies, the film begins to play the same quips it was satirizing. We never really know whether or not we should be laughing with or at “Spy,” and that poses a big problem for the tone of the film.
The revelation is Jason Statham, playing himself up as the stupidest agent in the CIA – he’s the kid in the playground (or indeed the adult at the dinner party) who always has to one-up someone else’s story. He’s utterly superfluous to the plot, but it appears that what may have once been a pointless cameo has been elevated due to the deficiencies around him. Meanwhile, Peter Serafinowicz has a riot as Italian stereotype Aldo, and he gets the best final punchline of anyone.
Overall Spy is a decent comedy, nothing more. The acting was good, some of the jokes worked and Paul Feig did an okay job directing the movie by mixing the action and comedy.
Spy gets a 6.7/10.