Melissa McCarthy Stars as CIA Analyst-Turned-Spy in Fish-Out-of-Water Comedy
Susan Cooper, played by Melissa McCarthy, is a desk-bound CIA analyst at the Langley, Virginia Headquarters. There, she acts as the ears and eyes of Bradley Fine, played by Jude Law, a veteran spy. Her eyes and ears are actually hidden cameras and listening devices.
Bradley Fine has successfully handled a series of dangerous missions throughout his decorated career and Susan provides his technical support. She has a crush on him, and the 40 year-old spinster has been living her life vicariously through her dashing colleague.
One day, while on a mission to secure a suitcase bomb that is close to falling into the wrong hands, Bradley is murdered. Susan pressures her boss, Elaine, played by Allison Janney, to be allowed to replace her late partner in the search for both the assassin and the nuclear device.
Obviously, Elaine is reluctant to allow Susan play spy, since the plump pencil pusher has never been out on a field assignment. Elaine grudgingly gives in and Susan gets a new identity (“Carol Jenkins”). Susan, in the guise of Carol, is issued strict orders to keep a low profile and to observe but never confront any of the bad guys she may encounter while in the field.
As you would expect, the rules of engagement go out the window as soon as Carol’s plane lands in Paris. Her cover as a matronly tourist is blown out of the sky when she decides to come to the assistance of a fellow agent, played by Jason Statham. She is not aware that he is in imminent peril.
The loose-lipped loudmouth craves attention, and with her appetite whetted for more action, there is no chance of getting the subtle surveillance genie back in the bottle.
So that is the flavor of Spy, the new collaboration between Melissa McCarthy and writer/director Paul Feig. Melissa’s previous outings in Bridesmaids in 2011, and The Heat in 2013, felt better. In Spy, Melissa carries the comedy alone, whereas in Bridesmaids, she was surrounded by a talented ensemble; and in The Heat, She had Sandra Bullock to share the load.
Spy definitely has its moments, But with only Melissa generating laughs through her trademark trash-talk, it grows tiring. Her vulgar comments were funny as unexpected asides in Bridesmaids, but here, they start to fall flat when it is clear they are the only material a one-trick pony might have to offer.
Spy is a Melissa McCarthy vehicle, recommended for her fans who have a big appetite for her crude, expletive-laced brand of humor.
Good (2 stars)
Spy is rated R for sexuality, brief nudity, violence and pervasive profanity
In English, French, Italian and German with subtitles
Running time: 120 minutes
Distributor: 20th Century Fox
Rottentomatoes Audience Score
Rottentomatoes readers liked Spy, with 86% positive out of 42,972, giving it an average rating of 4.1 out of 5.
“Simultaneously broad and progressive, Spy offers further proof that Melissa McCarthy and writer-director Paul Feig bring out the best in one another – and delivers scores of belly laughs along the way.” – Rottentomatoes
Of the Rottentomatoes’ 35 critics, Richard Roeper of Chicago Sun Times liked the movie, but James Berardinelli of ReelViews did not. Plus, with 159 Critics weighing in, 95% gave it a positive rating, 7.3 out of 10.