Spy, directed by Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat), is one of the funniest films to hit the screens in recent years. When top agent, Bradley Fine (Jude Law), is assassinated by Bulgarian arms dealer, Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), the CIA is desperate. The covers of their top agents have been blown, which leaves them with one option: CIA analyst, Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy), is propelled from her basement role out into the field, in a last ditch attempt to prevent a bomb falling into the wrong hands. Her greatest strength as an agent is that she is just a nobody – with an alias of a crazy cat lady – but over the course of the film McCarthy’s character proves that she is a somebody, after all.
Alongside the likes of 22 Jump Street and The Heat, Spy readily mocks the conventions of action films with its hyperbolic characters who are wholeheartedly ridiculous, but utterly genius at the same time. Jude Law’s character clearly watched a bit too much James Bond growing up, whilst Jason Statham steals the show as he ridicules the very role he’s become synonymous with, as Rick Ford – an inept MI6 agent who can’t seem to do anything right. Peter Serafinowicz’s character, Aldo, takes a hands-on approach to espionage, making the audience cringe as he makes a move on pretty much anything with a pulse. The dastardly duo that is Susan Cooper and Nancy Artingstall (Miranda Hart) show just how powerful girl power can be – with, admittedly, a few hiccups and spots of bother along the way. Finally, McCarthy’s Bridesmaids co-star, Rose Byrne, also proves her worth as the bratty, catty villain – with terrible hair and a striking resemblance to a slutty dolphin trainer.
These great characters execute the gag-a-minute script perfectly; there’s a heavy element of slapstick to the film and the plot seems merely a container for the abundance of one-liners. None of the actors seem to take themselves seriously, making for some hearty belly laughs at points – even 50 Cent allows himself to be satirised, in a role which actually turns out to be rather instrumental to the plot. Such saturation of humour throughout makes for great first time viewing but the question of whether or not the film will have as much of an impact upon second viewing remains open.
Paul Feig has scored a hat-trick with Spy, illustrating that he and McCarthy are a force to be reckoned with indeed.
Words by Beth Kirkbride