Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Film Review: Spy

"The name's Cooper, Susan Cooper - Licence to knit, bake cakes and live alone"

Spy is a Paul Feig comedy starring Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Rose Byrne and Jason Statham. It sees Susan Cooper, an inept and timid CIA analyst (McCarthy), thrust into the field when her partner Bradley Fine (Law) goes missing.

It may start strong, but Spy fails to leave an impression of anything other than your usual scattershot and sporadically funny comedy.

After a decade behind a desk, Susan Cooper is placed in the field for an important mission after a key agent goes missing and dozens of others are exposed. Tasked with preventing a nuclear warhead from reaching the United States, Cooper must evade the clutches of evil villainess Raina (Byrne) and enlist the help of other operatives (Statham, Miranda Hart, Peter Serafinowicz) to save the day.

Bridesmaids, The Heat, and now Spy. Once more alongside Paul Feig, McCarthy is no stranger to adult comedies where she plays the fool and I felt she slotted into the meek pencil pusher role well. However, it's her transition into ass-kicking super spy that I felt didn't gel.

I just didn't buy that, after one impressive display in basic training, Susan was able to convincingly morph into a badass Jason Bourne type that could give Sarah Connor a run for her money. Sure, it's supposed to be a comedy but somewhere along the way I felt like the film skipped a few beats.

I enjoyed it much more when Susan was just a bumbling but loveable goof akin to Steve Carrell's Max in Get Smart. That being said, it makes for a fun and action-packed finale though as Susan and Jason Statham's character Rick Ford team-up to bring down the baddies.

Speaking of Statham, he near enough steals the show in Spy. In fact, I'd have much rather seen a film about him, or with 100% more of him in it. Every single scene or line of dialogue he delivers is hilarious, whether he's bursting into standoffs and getting his coat caught on the handle, being fooled into thinking the CIA owns a 'real-life face-off machine' or recounting his past daredevil adventures.

"I’m a real spy," he tells McCarty. "I once drove a car off a freeway on top of a train while I was on fire. Not the car – I was on fire." An actor best known for straight-faced action franchises like Transporter and Crank,  I found that Statham jumps into the comedy with surprising ease and is easily the best part of the cast.

The plot, which involves a missing nuclear bomb, sees McCarthy zigzag across Europe, from France to Italy and Hungary tailing Rayna and her cronies. A lot of details fade into the background and soon become redundant – after all, who cares why Rayna is dangerous or the world is at stake when we’re having so much fun, right?

Jude Law puts on this godawful American accent that sounded like he was desperately trying to swallow a golf ball whilst Rose Byrne, the highlight of 2014's Bad Neighbours, just comes across as snotty and spoilt - hardly the seductive Ian Fleming siren this film desperately needed.

The supporting cast - Serafinowicz, Hart, 50 Cent - have their moments, but the jokes are either worn thin (Serafinowicz's Italian agent won't stop groping Susan) or plain unfunny (Miranda Hart just being herself). Oh, and Morena Baccarin crops up also. You'd be forgiven for forgetting because she's literally only in it for two scenes, despite getting an extended introduction.

The Verdict: 5.5/10

It has its moments, but Spy simply doesn't deliver laughs as easily or as regularly as you'd like - stuck in an odd limbo between Goldfinger and Goldmember, Spy isn't sure what tone to settle on and just ends up being forgettable. It's few saving graces comes from McCarthy and Statham.

Spy opens in cinemas across Australia on May 21. This review was originally published over at Hooked on Film, a Perth based website where you can find even more new release movie reviews, features, interviews and insight. Click here to check it out.


  1. omgosh I can't wait to see this movie!!!!!!

    1. If you're a fan of Feig and McCarthy, it's right up your alley :) Enjoy!

  2. Still super hyped for this one, especially because of Jason finally being in comedy again!



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