A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Directed By: Paul Feig
Produced By: Paul Feig
Written By: Paul Feig
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law
Running Time: 120 Minutes
Proceedings will commence with a declaration regarding my distaste for Melissa McCarthy. Interchangeable, repetitive and one-dimensional, her character range has remained relatively stagnant over the years, most infamously demonstrated through Tammy, a complete train wreck to put it lightly…
Thankfully, a delightful little picture from Theodore Melfi entitled St. Vincent resulted in a re-evaluation of McCarthy, as she was particularly impressive; a surprising but welcomed shift from the norm.
The follow up flick from early 2015, Paul Feig’s Spy was one met with heavy scepticism, as the promotional material indicated a painful return of the McCarthy of old, however, it is with great relief that I can comment on the film succeeding as a comedic spoof of the espionage genre.
McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, a CIA analyst serving as the voice in the ear of her heroic peers in the field. Conforming to the archetypical inciting incident for the underdog, situations arise and our desk-tethered protagonist sets off on a calamitous mission of her own, striving to save the world one profanity at a time.
With some delightful supporting performances from Jude Law and, in particular, Jason Statham, Spy is nothing that we haven’t seen before, however it has a lot more to offer than you’d assume.
Capturing the quirk and slapstick qualities of The Heat and Bridesmaids, Feig is able to emphasize certain aspects of his previous works in his latest comedic outing, however it is not without some fatal flaws. With an exhausting running time of two hours, the style and substance of Feig loses its potency all too quickly, and through the extensive conclusion to the film, one begins to get a little restless.
The cardinal sin that Spy commits time and time again however is the insistent overuse of the F-bomb; the lowest, most witless enhancement to a joke in the history of entertainment.
When Jerry Seinfeld compared the ‘F word’ to a Corvette, comedian Louis C.K said it caused him to refine and think over his excessive use within his standup routine. Take note, Paul Feig, just like how yelling a joke doesn’t make it funnier, substituting every adjective for an ‘F bomb’ is a surefire way to alienate your audience.
But I digress. Where Spy does impress is in the casting of Jason Statham, who plays a hysterical parody of himself, Rick Ford. Sporting a dashing turtleneck and a Louis Vuitton backpack to match, Statham’s self-awareness is a sensational inclusion into the thematic structure of the film in the sense that Statham himself is so incredibly unreserved.
Excluding the questionable American accent, Jude Law also impresses as Bradley Fine; a Bond-esque ball of suave and sophistication that possesses the conventional dose of sporadic stupidity.
McCarthy delivers a standard performance in the leading role, but it wasn’t completely unbearable. With numerous chuckles and the occasional laugh-out-loud moment, McCarthy doesn’t amaze, but doesn’t disgust all the same.
Spy places itself comfortably amid the slew of interchangeable spoof films that share similar gags, conventions and overall structure. Not quite capturing the iconic lunacy of an Austin Powers but nevertheless avoiding to fall into utter culpability such as Johnny English: Reborn, Spy is everything you would expect from the minds involved, with a little bit extra to enjoy on the side.