Friday, May 29, 2015

Spy

♣♣♣♣♣/♣♣♣♣♣

Despite her many years of service rendered for the CIA, Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) has always been confined behind the desk, playing support to super spy Bradley Fine (Jude Law) who also serves as her love interest. Although their relationship never progresses to anything beyond professional, she is forced to step up as a first-timer in the field after a botched operation involving Bulgarian arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne). Big boss Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney) is skeptical at first, but is left with no choice given how most of her seasoned agents’ identities, including that of cocky Rick Ford (Jason Statham), have already been compromised. It is not long before Susan finds herself globetrotting and hunting assassins and weapons dealers alike, dodging bullets and improvising along the way. The question is: can she really go far in a world of double agents who would betray you in the blink of an eye?

If you have seen Bridesmaids, then you would already know what brand of comedy you should expect from this movie. Paul Feig reunites with both McCarthy and Byrne, and their rapport has never been better. There is just something about their deadpan sense of humor which really gets to you, effectively combined with real world absurdities and dialogues overflowing with both wit and hilarious mockery.

Perhaps the main difference would be in the chosen genre. There was a lot of action going on in Bridesmaids, but nothing of the kind that would make 007 rethink his career. While the suspension of disbelief is set to high due to whatever physical limitations you could think of for McCarthy playing the role of a field agent, these doubts are put to rest once she opens her mouth and hilarity ensues. We know this is a comedy, after all, but the high octane fun is also welcome and acts as a good complementary ingredient necessary to keep your attention.

McCarthy is either hit or miss, and there has been no variety whatsoever when it comes to her roles post-Bridesmaids. This is why it is a breath of fresh air to see her tackle a role that is outside her comfort zone, all while maintaining a style of comedy that is uniquely hers. It is really difficult to find a movie of hers which does not feature her no non-sense approach in delivering punchlines, regardless if they are laced with profanity or not. This movie is no exception, but hey, we are not complaining because it works just fine!

Byrne has always been delegated to the roles of the pretty girl with a unique personality glitch that is supposed to make her funny. In this movie, she succeeds because Rayna Boyanov is such an adorable character, in a very twisted kind of way. Here you see an indifferent spoiled brat-super villain hybrid who just couldn’t care less about anything other than herself. When Byrne finally gets to share the screen with McCarthy, their chemistry as a funny duo just leaves you laughing all the way to the predictable ending.

Law does not really offer anything new aside from his name and good looks, but this could be because of his character’s pivotal role in the plot, which limits his exposure. It is actually Statham who wins the audience over with his over-the-top portrayal of an unhinged and supposedly experienced agent who has more outrageous anecdotes in hand rather than actual street cred, sabotaging one mission right after another and making life hard for our heroine. Perhaps the reason why he is so funny in this movie is because he is so game when it comes to mocking himself. He has been in one action movie too many before Liam Neeson came along and put him out of business. Now he plays the damsel in distress, and the irony is comedy gold.

This movie would probably make a killing at the box office. Audience and critics alike have been raving about it. You also have to take into consideration, the unlikely combination this movie is between a chick flick and a spy thriller, which simply means neither gender would be alienated as part of the target audience. This is, perhaps, Melissa McCarthy’s best movie to date.

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