Movie Review: Spy (with guest critic Bob's dad)
I’m not a big Melissa McCarthy fan. I don’t find her blend of extreme abrasiveness and over-the-top physical comedy funny now, and I didn’t find it funny when she went by the name Jim Carrey in the 90’s either. I always end up irritated but not amused. But with Spy, Paul Feig found a way to turn that irritating tag in the back of your shirt into a beautiful miniature swan origami.
The main reason this movie is so successful (and Melissa McCarthy is good in it), is that it doesn’t use her as a crutch. Spy is a movie with jokes to spare. While other movies would just let McCarthy go in place of a script or any actual jokes, Spy fires on all cylinders constantly. It recalls the old-fashioned parody films with 30 jokes a second. Last joke didn’t work for you? Don’t worry, there’ll be three hundred more jokes in the next five minutes, and you’ll definitely like some of them.
Along with the great jokes, just about everyone in the cast is brilliant. Jude Law plays a buffoonish Bond parody, but he’s suave and charismatic enough in this role that he makes a pretty good case for himself as a contender for playing the real 007. Jason Statham is fun as an incompetent jerk, and Rose Byrne is the absolute MVP as the film’s bad guy. She is hilarious and brilliant in just about every scene she’s in. The only character who doesn’t really work is Miranda Hart’s Nancy, who plays McCarthy’s sidekick. It feels like Feig didn’t really know what to do with her character, and a lot of her jokes tend to fall flat. But that’s just about the only element in the film that doesn’t work.
In a summer with only a few decent comedies, Spy is a must-see.
Stars: 4.5 out of 5
How does it compare to other spy parodies?
Better than: Top Secret! and the Austin Powers films.
Like Bobby, I wasn't a big Melissa McCarthy fan. Spy had a couple of things to get me over my problems with Melissa.
The premise sounded good, it had Jude Law, but best of all it had Jason Statham. I don't know if he ever made a good movie besides The Italian Job, but I really like him. (Oh yeah, I liked Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Cellular.) He plays totally against type in this by making fun of his tough-guy image, and he's great. Even if you need subtitles to understand him. An additional plus, after seeing the movie, is that it had Rose Byrne. I never heard of her before this movie, but she was great in this. Or at least she looked great.
I almost never go to see comedies because they don't make too many good ones. (Spoiler alert. Adam Sandler makes crummy movies!) This is a really good one. If you like Melissa McCarthy, you will like her even more. It has tons of laughs, and great action. If it wasn't a comedy, it would stand up well a great spy flick. But it is a comedy, and that makes it so much better. If you like to laugh, go see this movie. If you haven't seen it yet, what are you waiting for, Netflix?
Stars: 4 and a half out of 5
What to bring: A new derriere. You will laugh ass off while watching this.
Big Bob's Oscar Prediction: Jason Statham will win Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy on Oscar. Oh, never mind, the Academy does not give awards for comedies. Why do you think Woody Allen skips the Academy Awards every year?