There have been so many spoofs on the spy movie genre that it’s easy to get the general idea of how the entire movie is going to play out well before you’ve watched it. The same goes for a Melissa McCarthy-led big screen effort. You just know she’s going to be sweet and funny but also foul-mouthed and violently comedic and that’s just how it goes. So it’s surprising that when McCarthy and the spoof spy movie come together, it actually makes for a movie that is greater than the sum of its parts.
In Spy McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, a CIA agent who is great at her job. Only problem is it happens to be behind a desk. She’s an analyst who remote assists her partner Bradley Fine (Jude Law) when he is out in the field doing daring and fabulous spy type things. Susan is sharp, intelligent and skilled but so low in self confidence that no one thinks she can do more. Things take a turn for the bizarre in the field and long story short, Susan is now recruited to go out there and keep an eye on the bad guy – in this case a woman called Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne). That’s when the fun begins and through her various disguises Susan gets to reveal her real self. (I bet that’s what the pitch notes said.)
This kind of movie is supposed to be goofy, energetic and a fun ride and that is exactly what Spy is. The cast really gets into their parts – Byrne in particular is fantastic as the suspicious, ice-cold super villain, McCarthy commits fully to her various avatars and has a hilarious second partner in fellow desk agent Nancy played by the excellent British actress Miranda Hart, the normally strong and silent Jason Statham seems to relish playing the full-on, off-his-rocker rogue agent. Even Bollywood actress Nargis Fakhri’s brief role as some sort of fighter badass is made to count.
Under all the flair of the slick espionage universe, this is an underdog movie and when the journey is a fun one it’s easy to watch all the way through. Spy is just the kind of silliness you need at the end of a long work week. This one is worth a watch.