Four out five kernels
Move over, James Bond.
There’s another spy in the business, and she delivers on action and comedy.
Her name is Cooper. Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a CIA desk jockey until she is given the chance to take down a nuclear arms deal. The agency needs agents who are invisible, unassuming and boring, and Susan fits the bill.
However, that doesn’t mean she’s incapable. One of the most refreshing and wonderful things about “Spy” is that Susan is actually good at her job; she’s just never been given a chance to do better.
Susan is not a bumbling Inspector Clouseau type. She knows how to get out of tough situations. She can figure out escape routes. She can think on her feet and keep a convincing cover.
She can also make you laugh. There are plenty of those, including some at her expense. But she also has some great one-liners, dialogue and can hurl insults in a way that makes evil henchmen cry.
“Spy” doesn’t rely on one type of humor to deliver its laughs. It has slapstick fights, sight gags, quirky characters and a witty script, which altogether creates a well-rounded comedy.
And the cast is perfect. McCarthy runs around saving the world while breathing heavily and complaining of aches and pains. Jude Law plays Bradley Fine, the suave, Bond-type agent with a fancy tux who always gets his man. Jason Statham is Rick Ford, a tough-guy agent who is always bragging about his spy exploits that seem too good to be true. Rose Byrne is the villainous Rayna, who is the sexy femme fatale with a nuclear bomb.
These characters all have their own quirks and spoofs off the traditional spy genre. They work well, but they always work best when they play off of McCarthy’s Susan.
At its core, “Spy” is a parody of spy films — even down to the James Bond-style opening credits and song. But after about 20 minutes you forget about that and begin to enjoy it as simply a fantastic action-comedy.
It all stems from the work of McCarthy and writer/director Peter Feig, who prove that a character can be both capable and comedic.
This was one of the few times I have left the movie theater wanting more. Hopefully, a sequel is already in the works.