Jan 4, 2016

[Movies] Spy (2015)

There was a lot of good buzz about Spy when it first came out, which was rather surprising since it looked like just another silly comedy. I guess there may be some truth to the notion that the truly inane comedies rely on the puffy red font for one reason or another while others don't, maybe?

And movies have been a little hit or miss for me when it comes to Melissa McCarthy. She's certainly funny and is quite the skilled actress, but many times I feel like they've typecast her into a horrible stereotype. They're always eager to write her into scenes where she's involved in some pretty crude slapstick humor.

This movie started out with her in a somewhat different role with some variations here and there. And while some of the jokes continue to fall into the trap of the usual stuff they subject McCarthy too, on the whole it's still a great experience. If anything there were a good number of moment in the movie that were actually quite surprising, and in quite a pleasant way indeed.

Synopsis: Spy is a 2015 spy comedy movie written and directed by Paul Feig. He certainly has discovered a liking for working with McCarthy given their involvement in other movies like Bridesmaids and The Heat.

We first meet super spy Bradley Fine (Jude Law), a rather skilled and quite charming CIA agent. He works in tandem with Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy), a desk-bound CIA asset who provides additional tactical information to assets like Agent Fine to help them in their duties. Of course it's obvious to the audience that she's quite smitten with the agent, but of course she is unable to make any mention of her feelings out loud. But things become moot when Bradley is killed on a mission to discover he location of a suitcase nuke that is maybe in the possession of Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne). With the identities of their field agents compromised, the CIA reluctantly agree to Susan's effort to volunteer to gather intelligence on Rayna and hopefully discover the location of the nuke and perhaps avenge Agent Fine's death.

First, the movie will certainly have the sort of tropes that we come to expect from a Feig movie.Thus we have a number of running gags with moments seeded throughout the movie for maximum entertainment value. The most notable one involves the sort of crazy cover identities that are provided to Susan, most of which seem to be indirect statements about how the folks at the office see her and the odd belief that she owns a good number of cats. But hey, I suppose there are worse reasons for a laugh to have in a movie I suppose.

Melissa McCarthy herself is rather delightful and she clearly had fun with this role. As much as there were a lot of silly, self-demeaning moments (as seems typical for Feig), she really bloomed during other moments when she gets to be a cool operative. True, she isn't automatically the world's best secret agent, but her character isn't exactly without skills. And McCarthy truly makes the most of the role in a manner that really gives her heart.

I was pleasantly surprised to find Miranda Hart in this movie as well. I mean it's quite obvious that Tobie and I are major fans of her TV series and it was nice to see her brand of humor added into the mix of things. Sure she mainly had a certain roster of tropes and running gags to fulfill that occupied most of her character's time but beyond that she really gets to make the most of her time on screen.

The plot really felt more like a series of hijinks and silly coincidences that just follow one after the other. It doesn't necessarily make the story bad in itself but it can be a little tricky to appreciate the logic of things. But this is more just me grumbling a bit on what is ultimately a minor point.

Spy is a clever enough movie that seems to indicate this is hope yet for Feig to elevate his level of storytelling to more than just toilet humor. And it's  nice to see McCarthy to really grow as an actress and manage to find ways to add more depth to what could easily be shallow, comedic characters. Thus the movie gets 4 quirky moments of rodents at the CIA out of a possible 5.



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