I know some of you are probably thinking “Ugh a Melissa McCarthy movie, great” and rolling your eyes. Let’s face it, you either like her movies or you don’t. She tends to take jokes a bit too far (and into really bizarre and crude places) but, overall, I enjoy her movies. Even if she does get a little type cast in stereotypical roles.
When I saw the trailer for Spy I was interested in seeing it but also a little indifferent. If you go by the trailer alone it seems over the top, completely ridiculous and stereotypical. And it is. But it works. And there’s so much more to it than just the trailer.
The first thing I noticed was the opening credits. I know, duh, they’re supposed to be the first thing you notice. But what I mean is, they screamed high budget spy drama/comedy/Bond movie meets Get Smart (2008). And boy howdy did it keep reminding me of Get Smart all the way through… you know if the characters from Get Smart swore a hell of a lot, and had anger issues the incredible Hulk would be proud of.
Melissa plays Susan Cooper a CIA analyst who wants to be a spy but stays in the background as the eyes and ears for a super spy she is madly in love with (Jude Law). When agent identities are compromised during a mission involving a nuclear bomb they need an unknown to step in. Technically Cooper is a qualified agent so naturally she raises her hand for the job despite always being constantly underestimated and dismissed by EVERYONE. Sound familiar? Screams Get Smart to me. Also screams underdog movie if you like those heroes over the anti-hero types.
I enjoyed the performances from all the cast. It felt like an ensemble effort rather than a lead driven movie. While Melissa does a solid job of balancing drama with comedy (eg workplace crush/flirting moments contrasted with a dangerous spy operation in progress) I felt a lot more of the comedy came from the other players and their interaction with her. Her friend/co-worker Nancy was surprisingly likeable and funny (she didn’t come across like that in the trailer I had first seen which I can’t find online).
Rose Byrne does snarky villain brilliantly. Another reason to see this movie if you are a fan of hers. Special shout out to the purple heels she wears in one particular shot. Pretty! Oh, game idea! Spy Scavanger Hunt… spot these items and cross them off when you see them: the purple heels, Pepsi logo, Beaches watch, the letter B, a yellow window frame, a red umbrella and tally the number of martinis you see throughout. Also, listen out for a YouTube and Candy Crush reference.
Overall, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did. It was on par with Get Smart with talent and plot and it was better than The Boss and Identity Thief in terms of Melissa McCarthy titles. Word of caution, it contains language not suitable for young or impressionable children and the odd dick pic and sexual references. I feel like I have to mention that in case you might be thinking of including it in a family movie night. If you like the spy genre and inappropriate comedy you should definitely see this movie.