Movie Review: Spy

Joelene Pynnonen

Joelene Pynnonen embraces the life of an avid book lover in every way. When not reading or bowing to the will of the tyrant cat, Joelene likes to draw, make futile attempts at learning Finnish and occasionally work in a bookstore.

spyCIA analyst, Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy), spends her days as the brains behind the missions that her field agent partner, superspy Bradley Fine (Jude Law), embarks on. Initially joining the CIA in the hopes of making a difference for her country and having a more exciting life, she has never-the-less taken her mother’s advice and settled for relative obscurity.

When one of Fine’s missions goes sour and all of the CIA’s active agents are compromised, Susan seizes the chance to finally get into the field. With her loyal friend Nancy as her eyes and ears, an Italian lecher as back-up, and the most embarrassing toiletries bag ever at her disposal, Susan is ready to take on the International arms dealers threatening the world.

Films like this can always go one of two ways. Either they kill it on every level, or fall flat with the jokes never quite hitting the mark. The trailer was entertaining, and Melissa McCarthy almost single-handedly salvaged Bridesmaids for me, so not seeing it was never an option. The fact that I love spy spoofs just added incentive.

spy 2With so many movies and shows of a similar genre out there, it’s fantastic that Spy managed to keep the spy spoof fresh and hilarious. It’s as crass as Archer, as over-the-top as Get Smart and as unabashed as Austin Powers – but it has a distinct essence all of its own.

The cast has a superb energy; each of them really bouncing off the others in the comedic scenes. Jason Statham is the biggest – and best – surprise as Agent Rick Ford. Of course he’s not new to comedy with the brilliant Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch under his belt, but the way he fuses the tough guy character with the bumbling side-kick is hilarious. Melissa McCarthy’s Susan Cooper is also amazing. Her flair for improvisation and her comedic timing makes her the glue in Spy, holding all of the other characters and the plot together seemingly with ease.

Aside from how hysterically funny Spy is from start to finish, it also has an astounding amount of amazing female characters. Aside from her friend, Nancy, Susan’s boss is a woman who is acerbic as hell without being vilified for it. The main villain that the CIA is keeping under surveillance is female and rather than being out to destroy her at any cost, Susan is able to identify with her when her drink is tampered with. It’s refreshing to see such strong themes of female friendship in Spy.

Spy looks like the kind of movie that would have been incredibly fun to make, and it was just as fun to watch. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that there’s a follow up with all of the original cast members.

 

Awards

davitt-award  aurealis-award   logo-curtin-university

Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 

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