“Or shoot him in the head… That always works.”
Paul Feig’s latest female-lead comedy is more successful than his previous. Thanks to a wealth of truly entertaining individuals Spy ends up being a much more enjoyable picture than the hit and miss The Heat, whilst failing to live up to standards of the superb Bridesmaids. A reasonable story is enhanced by a flawless Rose Byrne performance, a delicately balanced McCarthy character and a handful of entertaining extras.
Whereas Melissa McCarthy became too dysfunctional to be likeable in Tammy, she hits a perfect balance in Spy. She is written as a talented individual without the confidence to push her limits, until her safety blanket is removed. She is utterly likable with an endearing vulnerable side, but when brought out her shell, just enough of McCarthy’s arsey side eeks out too.
McCarthy’s balanced character is brilliantly contrasted by Rose Byrne’s Bulgarian bitch. Constantly criticising McCarthy’s choices and appearance, she is the perfect buzzkill for any of McCarthy’s niceness. She shows a wonderful comic timing to hurl insults and is wonderfully unaware of anything really going on. I was very impressed with her performance.
Some have said that Statham’s self-parody is the best part of the picture, but to say that would be to downplay the impressive performances of Byrne and McCarthy. The two very entertaining ladies tower above the also entertaining performances of Statham, Serafinowicz and Hart, raising the picture to higher levels.
Spy is very entertaining and often very funny, but the comedy doesn’t always hit. Whilst Miranda Hart’s introduction to the American mass market is a very successful one, some of her lines, obviously intended to be funny, seem a little forced. The story also isn’t anything special and rarely strays from the beaten track. This is to be somewhat expected from a straight Bond parody, even including the sickly, artsy opening credits. Some thrills are missing, as Bond-like gadgets are teased and then ignored, whilst the film rivals the Fast & Furious franchise for number of European cities visited. However, Spy does have some really excellent sequences, including a truly brilliant knife fight scene in a restaurant kitchen. The sequence is both tense and funny, and is finished off by a German Suplex that Brock Lesnar would have been proud of.
Spy is a very entertaining film. For the most part I was wholly engrossed in the picture and I can confidently say that I enjoyed seeing it. Yet, it doesn’t go any farther than that. Don’t go out of your way to see this one.