For Reel

Spy (2015)
June 28, 2015, 2:30 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Paul Feig
4 Stars
SpyAmong the most well-trod tropes in comedy involves a play with incompetence. Films like The Interview involve men who are largely terrible at their jobs and who find themselves up against insurmountable odds. It’s quite refreshing, then, that Spy concerns a woman who is damn good at her job. In fact, she often comes across as the smartest person in the room. Rather than finding comedy from a character who is unable to complete basic tasks, the humor in Spy often stems from the absurdity that such a capable woman is so undervalued despite her ability to keep proving herself. Melissa McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, a CIA analyst who finds herself becoming an agent on the ground once all the top figures in the organization are outed. As she becomes deeper involved and the stakes continue to grow, she is required to keep thinking on her feet in new, creative ways, and much of the joy of the picture comes from watching her problem-solving. The relationship she develops with the daughter of an arms dealer (Rose Byrne, maybe Hollywood’s most valuable asset in comedy today) involves an ever-shifting power dynamic, with McCarthy able to convince and control Byrne through her sheer tenacity. As with Edgar Wright’s films, director Paul Feig begins Spy as a send up of the genre, but it eventually becomes a successful spy thriller on its own, and one that sets an incredibly high standard for stunts and fight choreography at that.

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