Review: Spy

Brash, bold, believable

While we’ve wasted years waiting for the Scorsese-DiCaprio love affair to produce something worthwhile, here are Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig with their third hit in a row, not-so-curiously devoid of the thinkpieces and circle jerks. McCarthy’s short appearance in Feig’s wonderful 2011 jam Bridesmaids cracked her star wide open—though, as millions of people are re/discovering on Netflix, she pulled seven terrific years on Gilmore Girls first—which was followed up two summers back with The Heat, pairing her with an equally game and hilarious Sandra Bullock. Spy puts her squarely in the lead as Susan Cooper, a basement-dwelling CIA agent who is so mousy there is literally a mouse problem. When a nuclear weapon comes into play, Cooper is sent into the field by her superior (Allison Janney, awesome as ever) over the protests of super-spy Rick Ford, played by Jason Statham with nearly a twinkle—he’s having so much fun taking the piss out of himself. Jude Law is fine enough as the Bond-type Cooper is in love with, and Rose Byrne cements her comedy status, after a stellar performance in Neighbours, as the bad guy Cooper gets into shenanigans with. Feig comes from the Apatow crew but you’d never know it—his frames are full of women, whole characters, with things to do and say. It seems like a small thing, especially in a a big dumb action movie, which is what this is, but it’s so important. Much has been said about McCarthy, an amiable plus-size lady, as a viable movie star but there is no longer any question. Brash, bold and believable at every turn, Spy is a showcase and a celebration of her as a performer.

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