James Bond is busy breaking box office records at the movies just now, but this week you can enjoy a slice of less serious espionage-based fun on the small screen. Our DVD of the week is the entertaining spoof Spy.
Written and directed by Paul Feig, the man who brought us Bridesmaids, Spy sees Melissa McCarthy star as CIA operative Susan Cooper. She is the awkward desk-based support worker for Jude Law’s smooth and smarmy agent Bradley Fine. When catastrophe strikes Cooper is thrust into the heart of an international nuclear weapons dealing conspiracy.
McCarthy is excellent throughout the film, playing the lead role expertly as Cooper transforms from a glorified PA chronically lacking in self-confidence into a mean and aggressive operative. As she gets cruder the comedian gets funnier and there are several memorably expletive-laden moments in the film where Cooper’s razor sharp tongue is unleashed.
She’s not the only abrasive spy in the film though. Jason Statham sends up just about every role he’s ever played in his portrayal of Rick Ford, a tough-guy whose grip on reality seems far from secure. Gentler support is provided by another Brit, the comedian Miranda Hart.
It is a testament to the writing and direction that all these cast members get a chance to shine and although the plot gets a little untidy, there is enough hilarity to keep things moving. As things shift from one comedy set piece to another not every joke hits the mark but there are enough laughs to keep the movie entertaining.
Secret agent films are a notoriously male-dominated genre of movies. Spy provides a refreshing change of pace, suggesting what Miss Moneypenny might be capable of if she was given a gun and let out from behind that desk.