Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is an overlooked, deskbound CIA analyst, and the unsung hero behind the Agency’s most dangerous missions. But when her partner gets terminated and other agents are compromised, the frumpy wallflower becomes our only chance for survival.
Psycho heiress Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) is threatening to nuke the world and she knows all the CIA field agents by name and face. The CIA has to find a nuclear bomb and uncover a double agent who is selling them out to Rayna. They can’t send any of their usual spies and that’s where Susan comes in.
Susan volunteers to become a spy and go deep undercover to infiltrate the world of the deadly arms dealer, and prevent a global disaster.
She unleashes a series of lethal zingers whilst transforming from sweet-natured co-worker into acid-tongued comic ironist, stopping all those that doubt her in their tracks, including fellow agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham).
With Spy, McCarthy proves that she can still deliver those awesome on-liners. Unfortunately they are few and far between. This isn’t helped by the comic teaming of McCarthy and British drip Miranda Hart, who only adds irritation and boredom to the mix.
Byrne is great as the disgruntled, gorgeous and immaculately psychotic Rayna. Whilst Jude Law spends the whole movie exuding smugness and pouting.
The hidden comic gem of Spy is Statham, a field agent with an insane track record of unbelievable stunts. Most of his screen time is spent reciting absurd incidents that could well be the plots of his previous movies. Statham is not a comic and he doesn’t try to be, which is perhaps why he’s the funniest person in the movie. Combined with Susan’s polite but unconvinced interjections, the duo’s repartee scenes are what makes the movie.
Rick: You really think you’re ready for the field? I once used defibrillators on myself. I put shards of glass in my fuckin’ eye. I’ve jumped from a high-rise building using only a raincoat as a parachute and broke both legs upon landing; I still had to pretend I was in a fucking Cirque du Soleil show! I’ve swallowed enough microchips and shit them back out again to make a computer. This arm has been ripped off completely and re-attached with this fuckin’ arm.
Susan: I don’t know that that’s possible… I mean medically…
Rick: During the threat of an assassination attempt, I appeared convincingly in front of congress as Barack Obama.
Susan: In black-face? That’s not appropriate.
Rick: I watched the woman I love get tossed from a plane and hit by another plane mid-air. I drove a car off a freeway on top of a train while it was on fire. Not the car, I was on fire.
Susan: Jesus, you’re intense.
Spy is a half-baked comedy which relies too heavily on McCarthy’s tried and tested shock value tactics. Unimaginable things may come out of her mouth, but unfortunately nothing that good to save the movie from being anything more than mediocre.
By Ruth Walker