A desk-bound CIA analyst volunteers to go undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent diabolical global disaster.
“Spy” is a comedy/action movie with an anorexic plot but that won’t stop you from enjoying yourself. Over the past couple of years, Melissa McCarthy has become one of Hollywood’s hottest properties and with “Spy,” she shows no signs of slowing down. The film is, in many ways, a homage to the James Bond movies and while the actors take their roles seriously and there are some genuinely exciting scenes throughout, it’s easy to tell that they are having way more fun than they have a right to. Ms. McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, a desk-bound analyst who works for the C.I.A. She is the eyes and ears for her partner Bradley Fine (Jude Law), a suave, handsome, secret agent who has never failed a mission. When he is in the field, she watches over him and helps him navigate his way through dangerous assignments.
While trying to track down a nuclear bomb so it won’t fall into the wrong hands, he mysteriously disappears, presumed dead and with his identity now compromised, along with the agency’s other elite operatives, for a while, all seems lost. Having fallen for Bradley over the years, Susan offers to continue the mission, insisting that because she is a desk analyst and has never been in the field, her identity would not be an issue and against her better judgment, her boss, Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney), agrees to let her go. The agency’s other top spy, Rick Ford (Jason Statham), is outraged that they would even consider sending a novice to do his job and he quickly resigns. While under a fake identity, Susan makes her way to Paris where she meets the mysterious Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne).
After inadvertently saving her life, Susan quickly realizes that Rayna is the mastermind behind Bradley’s disappearance and that she has acquired the nuclear bomb and is trying to find the highest bidder. In order to keep her cover secret, Susan becomes her bodyguard and must stay with her if she hopes to locate the bomb and find out exactly what happened to Bradley. The movie plays out like a Bond escapade, with Susan traveling to international locales such as Paris, Rome and Budapest and the action scenes give Mr. Bond a run for his money. The film walks a fine line between satirical and parody and just about manages to stay within those boundaries, never really crossing over but many, many times, coming very close. There were moments when I expected Leslie Nielsen to make an appearance but since he’s no longer with us, that would have been in very bad taste.
While this is most certainly a starring and comedic vehicle for Ms. McCarthy, for me, it was actually Jason Statham who stole the show. He has played the tough guy persona since his breakout performance in Guy Ritchie’s 1998 feature “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” but here, he has a field day making fun of himself and there are not many tough-guy action stars around who could do that and carry it off as successfully as he did. His Rick Ford is a walking braggart, full of stories of his own heroism, bravery and a never-ending supply of near-death experiences that in the beginning, sound somewhat legitimate but when he gets around to telling Susan that his left arm was completely detached from his body and that he personally reattached with his right arm, you begin to see your way through all of his bullshit.
There is a great supporting cast including Jude Law, playing an American spy who always seems to be wearing a tuxedo (take that MI6), Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart and Allison Janney, who brings her renowned facetiousness along for the ride and it’s just a shame that she appears intermittently because I would love to see her character in a starring role rather than a supporting one. Fans of Melissa McCarthy will not be disappointed as she takes on the foul-mouthed persona she so eloquently portrayed in “The Heat” but be warned, there is a lot of crass and vulgar language and while it is hilarious in the context of the movie, if you have an aversion to that sense of humor, then you might want to go and see “Pitch Perfect 2″ or “San Andreas” instead.
In theaters June 5th
For more info about James visit his website at www.IrishFilmCritic.com