This film has provided me with a pretty good opportunity to express my feelings on Melissa McCarthy. I have always said that she definitely has the talent, but she's so terribly typecast that she's not given the room to be at her best. Of course, since 2015, when this film was initially released, we've all seen her come pretty far. This includes a Best Actress nomination for a very serious role in 'Can You Ever Forgive Me', and I really do hope to see more opportunity present itself to her in the future, as she's such an underutilized actress.
I personally found that after watching this movie, 'Spy' may be that perfect balance of her talents. She does the funny thing, she does the serious thing, she does the badass thing, and it all comes together with a fantastic supporting cast, great dialogue, and a fair share of decent action. I can say with all honesty that this was a very pleasant surprise, as I went into it expecting something pretty bottom-shelf. I do love when a film proves me wrong though, and this is no exception. In fact, even thought it's a bold statement, I might currently consider this the most surprised I've been by a movie (although 'Jumanji' 2017 is a big contender).
We're introduced to a desk-bound CIA agent named Susan Cooper (McCarthy); a techie for field agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law). Things go pretty well between them as a team, and we get that Susan has a bit of a thing for Fine's suave good looks and demeanor. However, long story short, when things go south, Fine is assassinated by a Bulgarian arms dealer named Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrn). Having such strong feelings for her friend, partner and potential love interest, Susan eventually manages to get her first undercover assignment from her boss, Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney), to help with the capture of Boyanov. The running gag is that every time her identity changes, it's never anything flattering, and the disguises kinda just keep getting lamer but funnier.
In the meantime, Susan has to go undercover due to the agency's top agent's names being revealed, and becoming easily identifiable. The two top agents in question are the seemingly fake-friendly Karen Walker (Morena Baccarin), whose confidence lets her get away with far too much, and Rick Ford (Jason Statham) who puts that cherry on top of this wonderful spy sundae. His running gag is bragging about various stunts he's done, and more often than not, I'm pretty sure they turn out to be something you may have seen him do in another movie at some point. The gag is that to hear these situations out loud is laughable, even if it all looks incredibly badass on screen. So it takes its jabs at typical Hollywood action with a modern "It" guy for the genre.
Beyond having a great cast, this film is just really well written for a spy spoof. It seems abundantly clear by the way things unfold that writer/director Paul Feig has an appreciation for spy movies. For as much of a comedy/action that this is, it's a bit surprising, and a breath of fresh air, not to see it go too off the rails at any point. It's oddly believable as an actual spy movie with comedic situations as opposed to just a spy spoof like 'Spy Hard' or 'Austin Powers'. Yet as you get the gags going through the film, it's easy to tell that it's something that doesn't take itself too seriously either. It's kinda "just right" as far as a spy comedy/spoof goes.
So, if you're anything like me and find Melissa McCarthy a little too typecast as a goofy character, you might find the trailer for this giving you pause. It just looks like Melissa McCarthy is gonna play Melissa McCarthy again, on the surface. But trust me when I say there is much more to this movie than meets the eye. But don't take my word for it either. Rotten Tomatoes balances the critic/audience rating on an average of 86.5%, with the critics liking it more! If you haven't seen it yet, and you appreciate a good spy movie, and are any kind of fan of Jason Stathom, this was made for you. Check it out. It's awesome!