Sunday, June 28, 2015

Syan Vs Movies: Spy

 Spy is the newest Melissa McCarthy-led comedy film to come out after she burst into stardom with Bridesmaids and her television series Mike and Molly.  McCarthy’s manic motor-mouth delivery has kept her in high demand for work in Hollywood, but a lot of people held reservations about this new film after the disasters of Tammy and Identity Thief made many believe her to be played out and a one-trick pony.  Thankfully, Spy is much more like her buddy comedy The Heat than either of those other two comedies.

Best spy action since Kingsman
played Freebird

Spy stars McCarthy as Susan Cooper, an FBI agent acting as the desk support to a high-level agent, Bradley Fine, played by Jude Law.  Cooper is nervous and awkwardly flirtatious with Fine, but he is oblivious to her feelings.  After a deadly villain, Rayna Boyanov, played by Rose Byrne, reveals she has data on all the active FBI agents, Cooper steps up to volunteer for the mission, as she had passed all of her field duty exams… with flying colors. 

It is both hilarious and refreshing to see a woman like Melissa McCarthy cast as an action hero and have it very seriously portray her as one. The action is intense and wild at many points, not to mention shockingly bloody and mature.  Hands are impaled, throats are melted, and penises are exposed. Many sequences feature well-choreographed battles, but keep the comedy element and James Bond-esque ridiculousness still in the forefront. A violent knife battle against an enemy agent has Cooper fight back with a frying pan as if she were a member of Rapunzel’s army in Tangled and when she is given a secret identity, she is given plain and even creepy cover stories instead of the glamourous honeypot situations spy movies usually give to their protagonists.  Simultaneously embracing and subverting so many of the norms of super-spy action adventures makes Spy into a unique and fresh take on the genre.

I laughed for a good two minutes at Jason Statham
in shades and a wig dancing the night away
Besides McCarthy, whose trademark banter is perfectly crafted in this movie and carries it wonderfully, there are two other hilarious presences in the movie. The first is action star Jason Statham as the wild, cocky renegade agent Rick Ford, who speaks of himself as if he were Chuck Norris mixed with Drax the Destroyer from Guardians of the Galaxy.  His one-liners and braggadocios speeches are hilarious and certain to cause some eye-rolling.  Seeing a proven action star willing to have fun and mock himself by lambasting everything that made him famous in the first place not only made me have greater respect for Statham, but showed me he has incredibly well-honed comedic timing. 

We could die. You want we
should have the sex, yes?
The other is Peter Serafinowicz as the Italian secret agent, Aldo.  Not since his role as Sctanley, that’s Stanley with a “C”, in Couples Retreat has Serafinowicz stolen every scene he appears in so well.  Aldo is lusty and lecherous to Cooper, using every opportunity from stopping short while driving to trying to untie each other while in the enemy’s lair to be able to grope her body.  He takes one of the most earnest and selfless roles in the film, while walking a fine line of being creepy enough to annoy you, but not so creepy that he stops being funny.

What's in this drink?
Iocane! I'd bet my life on it!

Byrne’s Boyanov is the classic villain: overconfident, remorseless, and utterly without compassion. Her every word is rude and condescending.  She watches people die gleefully and has no value for her minions’ lives.  However, Boyanov is shown to be nearly worthless on her own.  She cannot protect herself, she cannot fly her plane, and she really can’t do anything except know where her weapon is hidden.  After much screentime of her speaking down and cruelly taunting Cooper, the moment when Cooper fires back with a flaming roast is a treasure to behold and one of the funniest verbal thrashings of this year’s comedies.

Spy is a hilarious comedy with surprisingly great action that blends genres masterfully and reinforces Melissa McCarthy as a true queen of comedy today.  The guest star appearances are fun to point out, but the principle cast carries this movie so well and their chemistry is undeniable.  Byrne, Serafinowicz, and Statham are excellent support roles and each interacts with McCarthy in an antagonistic role that is just endearing enough that raw friendship shines through. 

Oh my gosh! My movie is hilarious?
I'm so happy I could cry!

Short version:  Spy is ludicrous slapstick with a firm base of strong acting by lead actress Melissa McCarthy. It will make you laugh, the fight scenes are fun, and it is enjoyable the entire way through.  Watch it.    

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Look into other Syan Vs Movies reviews: Jurassic WorldSan AndreasTale of Princess KaguyaMad Max: Fury Road, and Ex Machina

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