Writer & Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Allison Janney, Bobby Cannavale, Jason Statham, Jude Law, Miranda Hart, Morena Baccarin, Rose Byrne, Ben Falcone, 50 Cent, Zach Woods.
Bridesmaids didn’t completely convince me. There were some really funny scenes, but overall I left the movie cold and not totally impressed with what I had just seen. I grow tired of the adults that refuse to grow up trope, and that movie seemed like the latest installment of the genre. The Heat won me over. A funny action movie that had me laughing out loud, and also presented one of the best female friendships on celluloid. Spy has made me a believer. I will follow Paul Feig wherever he goes from now, even if that means the new Ghostbusters movie, which I am very worried about. The director has proven that he not only thinks women are funny (imagine that!), but he also trusts in their talents and allows them to fully showcase them in bright and imaginative ways. He disrupts wrongly held beliefs, and as audiences we are all the better for it.
The new Feig movie revolves around Susan Cooper. A gifted CIA analyst who helps other agents when they are in the field. While Cooper excelled in her training, receiving some of the highest scores in her class, she has settled in the role of office worker aiding others in their quest to thwart antagonistic governments and terrorists, and achieving all the glory. When her mentor and frequent collaborator is killed and all active agents are suddenly compromized, Susan volunteers to enter the field and have a go at catching the bad guy herself, for once. It turns out that Susan is a fantastic spy, and with the help (or in spite of it) of fellow agent Rick Ford and good friend and analyst Nancy, she is off and running. As a wink and indictment of the industry and world’s treatment of women who do not conform to imposed standards of beauty, all of Susan’s alter egos and disguises make her out to be homely, shapeless, and downright dowdy. Clearly someone who looks like Susan cannot and should be a spy, and yet that is exactly what makes her a great one – by flying under the radar, but with formidable talents, Susan is the spy we’ve always needed but didn’t think possible.
Susan Cooper is played by the great Melissa McCarthy, who at this point has proven that not only she is funny and game for anything, but is also just plainly a brilliant actress (who can also do more dramatic work, as seen in St. Vincent). Revelatory in the role of the awful agent Rick Ford is Jason Statham, who plays with his badass tough guy persona, and turns in a funny performance as the type of character he always plays only this time completely incompetent. Finally gracing American screens is the mesmerizing Miranda Hart who can make me laugh with just a look. I have been a longtime fan of hers, between her sitcom, her work on Call the Midwife, her book, and basically anything she is in or does. I am just glad that now more people will realize how funny she is, especially because she gets to harass and tackle 50 Cent in this movie, and that is funny! The two main baddies are played by real-life couple Rose Byrne and Bobby Cannavale who are funny and willing to be ridiculous in this movie. It’s always nice to see more serious actors not take themselves so seriously. As Susan Cooper’s CIA boss Allison Janney has a small role, but as usual uses it to deliver as much as she can, and her insults directed at Susan are cutting and hilarious.
Basically, at the end of the movie I was left asking just one question: “James Bond who?”