Director Paul Feig and actress Melissa McCarthy are fast becoming Hollywood's dynamic duo of comedy. This is their third feature together, and like previous outings Bridesmaids and The Heat, Spy is hilarious good fun.
Feig has written McCarthy her best role yet as CIA analyst Susan Cooper, who runs field operations for smooth, charismatic agent Bradley Fine. The film opens with Fine - Jude Law having a James Bond moment - on a missing nuke mission in Bulgaria that goes horribly wrong.
Fine is excellent at the tough stuff, but it's the unassuming desk-bound Cooper who is the brains behind the operation, having to deal with both Fine and an office bat infestation.
Yes, the CIA has a bat and rodent problem in its basement; just one of the random, funny gags repeated throughout the film.
Spy may be a spoof on the espionage genre, but it's done with love.
From its Bondesque opening titles to its stunts and car chases, it mimics the traditional spy format seriously.
For the most part, so does its cast; albeit with sharp dialogue and physical gags delivered with real comedic timing.
McCarthy and Law hit their straps from the opening scenes; other characters take some time to warm up. Cooper's analyst friend, played by Brit comedian Miranda Hart (Miranda) is almost too quirky and Jason Statham's tough-guy character is initially grating but by the end of the film threatens to steal scenes off everyone.
Spy belongs though to McCarthy, with the film taking off when she meets Bulgarian villain Raina Boyanov (Byrne), daughter of the now dead owner of the nuclear warhead.
When the CIA agents are exposed, Cooper's boss (Allison Janney) sends her to follow Boyanov; with Cooper discovering an aptitude for fieldwork she successfully infiltrates Boyanov's security force.
Judd Apatow writes great irreverent comedy for male actors; Paul Feig does the same for comediennes. Janney, Byrne and McCarthy's characters are strong but likeable as they fire off witty, brutal quips and put-downs.
McCarthy, in particular, goes from insecure to confident while retaining her initial charm and although the final act is convoluted and silly, it's her Susan Cooper who keeps us hanging in there.
While some of the men are left with stereotypes, Law as the charismatic spy and Peter Serafinowicz as a sleazy Italian agent, Feig makes his ladies shine.
Cast: Rose Byrne, Melissa McCarthy Director: Paul Feig
Running Time: 120 mins
Rating: R16 (Violence, sexual references, offensive language)
Verdict: A little uneven, but balances humour and action nicely.
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