Spy (2015)

Melissa McCarthy is building her career off of a certain style of comedy. She lays it pretty heavily on the butt and fart jokes, but her comedy is better than that. I'm not saying that I'm above a fart joke, but they should be (like a fart) fleeting and rare. Relying entirely on the butt jokes is like Gallagher relying on that giant hammer. It was entertaining for the first few watermelons, and now I need to hear some damn jokes.

This movie starts with Melissa and Jude Law as the spy and his helper on the other side of an earpiece. Melissa harbors quite the crush on Jude, and he is casually flirtatious with her, not seriously considering her as a potential romantic partner. Jude is the prime example of the perfect James Bond-style super spy who takes care of all of the fisticuffs and such while getting a feed of who is where and how to get out of nasty situations from Melissa.

Miranda Hart, who plays Melissa's best friend, is honestly one of the best points in this movie. She is an uptight lady who pretty much does the same thing that Melissa does (guiding agents through an earpiece) and rarely thinks outside the box for her own life. She sells this character really well, and it is written well. This is odd, as it would at first glance just be a cookie-cutter, generic character who should fade into the background until being hauled out for convenience later in the movie.

Jason Statham is the angry, foul-mouthed spy who I didn't expect to be this entertaining. He goes as over-the-top with his performance as the script is written. And his character is written very much over the top. He screams at everyone, believes in the very direct approach when resolving conflicts, and - again - swears like a sailor on shore leave. That said, his character is endearing and even relatable.

Did I mention that Jude tries to pull off an American accent? He fails. Fortunately, he really doesn't have so many lines that it is too much of a distraction, but holy cow. I guess they couldn't think of a reason to have two three agents with British accents in the CIA, so they made him go American. I can't help but think that they could have gotten an actual American actor to play the role just as well, but Jude tries, and that gets him points.

Rounding out the cast are a good set of supporting actors including Bobby Cannavale as a middleman for arms dealers, Allison Janney as Melissa's joyless boss, and Peter Serafinowicz as the eccentric local agent tasked with helping Melissa get around while she's in Europe. They are all cast very well and they all perform their best in roles that are very well written.

You wouldn't expect much action from a movie like this, but Statham can certainly hold his own, and whoever they got to do the stunts as Melissa was convincing enough for the long distance shots that they took. The editing, I suppose should also take some of that credit.

All of the movie is still kind of let down by the constant fart, fat, and butt jokes. Comedy is more than that, and Melissa needs to elevate her level of comedy. She has shown a glimmer of capability, but I suspect she's going to double-down on these jokes to rake in money - like a female Adam Sandler.

Editing was very good
Acting was surprisingly good
Script was great
Comedy was entertaining (for the most part)
Direction was good

Bottom Line: A highly entertaining movie with more going on than a slapstick hour and a half long fart joke like Paul Blart.

3.0/5

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