A Jason Statham Film
Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Jude Law, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, Morena Baccarin, Peter Serafinowicz and 50 Cent as himself
Director/Scriptwriter: Paul Feig
Composer: Theodore Shapiro
Cinematographer: Robert Yeoman
20th Century Fox/Cernin
Rating: R for profanity and sexual material
Running Length: 118 minutes
Jason Statham, the man of mystery and action films, can do comedy. In “Spy” he runs away with the movie, playing against type---as the man who can't quite get it right. Melissa McCarthy, is the shy one who does get it right, but no one notices, and Jude Law is the sophisticated spy who thinks of himself first and first and first. Melissa McCarthy does physical comedy well and takes this role and runs with it. Jason Statham, usually the physical actor, has a chance at comedy. He's a winner. Thus is the plot of this Paul Feig film and there is so much going on that I think there may just be a “Spy 2” lurking in the background somewhere.
Director/scriptwriter Paul Feig puts together the story of Susan (Melissa McCarthy), a woman in the CIA who is on top of each project she does with top agent, Fine (Jude Law). There isn't a mirror he can't pass without a look. Susan and Fine are quite a team with he in the field and she at the computer, assisted by her friend, Nancy (Miranda Hart from the “Midwife” PBS series). Susan volunteers for a dangerous mission. Boss Crocker (Allison Janney) is tough and decides Susan can do it, but in disguise as a Tupperware lady with no elaborate spy equipment. Susan meets another top agent, Ford (Jason Statham who has more dialogue to say than three of his past films). Ford takes an instant dislike to her. They are after a nuclear bomb about to be sold and who has it? The inventor? Inventor’s daughter, Rayna (Rose Byrne with enough hair for three women) or the slippery, De Luca (Bobby Cannavale.) In the meantime, Susan becomes a friend to the daughter, Nancy comes on-board as Susan’s assistant, and a driver arrives. He is Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz) who lives to try to charm women, drives like a maniac and has his eye on Susan. The running joke in this movie concerns 50 Cent (himself) who is admired and chased by one of the spies.
This reviewer had an opportunity, several years ago, to interview Paul Feig. He is a kind man and generous with the press. There is a kindness in this film, too, in that no one mentions Susan’s size, instead comments are made about her hair or her clothing by Rayna, who comments badly on everyone. Later, when Susan comes out from the Tupperware Lady outfit to attend a posh event, everyone notices from wolf whistles on the street to men at the party. She can out-think everyone in the room.
Stunts go from the usual Statham fights to a stunt about Susan and a motorbike that is featured in trailers. However, that is about 25% of the entire stunt and it pokes fun at stunts. No one or incident is spared from humor and that includes motorbikes or airplanes.
“Spy” turns out to be a tongue-in-cheek comedy with good timing, a cast that seems to enjoy poking fun at themselves, a script that has wit and a director who lets the cast do their thing. There are enough asides to past spy movies, particularly the Bond films, to satisfy fans who may be keeping score. Even the title credits and music are in on it, with Ivy Levan doing "Who Can You Trust." By the way, stay through the entire list of end credits for this film, and do be aware of the “R” rating and profanity.
Copyright 2015 Marie Asner