Spy (2015) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: Spy (2015)

After such critical bombs and/or not very good comedies as “The Hangover Part III,” “Tammy” and “Identity Theft,” there’s finally a Melissa McCarthy vehicle we can smile and laugh at — intentionally. Unfortunately, her latest turn in the new Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids,” “The Heat”) directed film, Spy, as an unprepared, mousy analyst/secret agent, loses those laughs the longer the production carries on.

She is Susan Cooper, a perky, cheerful CIA desk jockey who excels in computer security as well as protecting charming deep cover spy colleague Bradley Fine (Jude Law, “Black Sea,” giving his best screen test for the next 007). Like Bond and Miss Moneypenny, however, she is crazy for him, but he just plays with her affections.

The duo works well enough to solve some big international threats, until he is offed by a glamorous Bulgarian arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne, “Neighbors”) who is selling an atomic bomb of some sort to a sleazy terrorist. The shock causes Susan to offer to go into the field, impressing her boss, Allison Janney (“The Way Way Back”), as well as stunning other male agents, including the arrogant and often-psychotic Agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham, “Furious 7”), who brags constantly about how many times he’s almost been killed or has actually died.

Put under various deep covers as a dumpy Mary Kay sales representative or a lonely cat lover (some of which work better comically than others), Susan actually begins to succeed in rounding up suspects and getting closer to solving the crime. Of course, this takes a suspension of disbelief wider than the Grand Canyon, considering she is able to battle (and defeat) professional killers and henchmen (and women), fly airplanes and helicopters and skillfully operate automobiles and motorcycles at high speeds through the narrow streets of Paris, Rome and Budapest, among other European capitals.

Aided in this lunacy by the mannish Nancy (Miranda Hart, a bunch of British TV series no one has ever heard of), who manages to seduce rapper 50 Cent (is he still alive?); and Peter Serafinowicz (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), who plays the horny CIA operative who bails her out several times (while always managing to grab her breasts now and then). These early scenes showcase McCarthy’s easy charm and self-depreciating style very well. She even sees things off with some juicy bon mots and clever one-liners.

All of this is well and good, but when the light comedy of Spy crosses over into deep pain material, it can be a very uncomfortable experience. For instance, characters here get stabbed, shot, thrown from great heights, sliced, bludgeoned, burned and mangled in various ways (a guys gets his ankle snapped while Gabe from “The Office” [the US version] is forced to drink a concoction that causes his throat to graphically dissolve).

The more this happens, the less funny it all becomes. So much so that any fun you might have had at the beginning of Spy dissipates long before this manic nonsense concludes.

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
3 Star Rating: Average


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The Critical Movie Critics

I have been a movie fan for most of my life and a film critic since 1986 (my first published review was for "Platoon"). Since that time I have written for several news and entertainment publications in California, Utah and Idaho. Big fan of the Academy Awards - but wish it would go back to the five-minute dinner it was in May, 1929. A former member of the San Diego Film Critics Society and current co-host of "The Movie Guys," each Sunday afternoon on KOGO AM 600 in San Diego with Kevin Finnerty.

'Movie Review: Spy (2015)' have 7 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 6, 2015 @ 12:31 pm Plutchoro

    I thought the movie started slow and get funnier as it progressed.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 6, 2015 @ 12:43 pm ROW185352

    A surprisingly agile fat woman shouting curses and snarky comebacks is not particularly funny to watch for 90 minutes.

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 6, 2015 @ 1:17 pm Deter

    The only good Melissa McCarthy films are the ones she plays a supporting role in. See Bridesmaids and St. Vincent as examples.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 6, 2015 @ 1:25 pm Ariel

    I want so much to like Melissa McCarthy but she keeps giving us the same base character in all her comedies.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 6, 2015 @ 2:47 pm hollowman

    Jason Statham playing against cast was hilarious. I wanted to see more from Rose Byrne though, she’s got comedy skills that are always underplayed.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 6, 2015 @ 3:09 pm kickondowntheroad

    This reviewer is being slightly dramatic with the ‘ deep pain material’ bit. There’s a few murderous scenes but they’re spread out evenly throughout the film and not near graphic enough to cause one to be ‘uncomfortable.’

  7. The Critical Movie Critics

    June 6, 2015 @ 3:43 pm Amber

    I didn’t find much to like.

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