Spy. Directed by Paul Feig. 2015.


With Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Allison Janney, Rose Byrne.

I confess I am a Melissa McCarthy fan. It is hard for me not to laugh when she wants me to laugh, or to feel pity when things are not going her way. There is something about her that appeals to me as a woman. That she is the only consistently cast woman in big Hollywood pictures right now makes me cheer her on. I wish there were not so much humor about her weight and her appearance. (Do they do that with John Goodman?) But I will take her as she is, a very funny actress. There is a dearth of good comedies for women, and she is filling in a gap. Have you ever tried to find a comedy on Netflix that didn’t have to do with men getting drunk and sloppy or Jennifer Aniston taking her clothes off?

Spy is her best movie yet. The plot is beyond silly, having to do with the theft of a nuclear device by a greedy psychopath.  (Or am I being cavalier, considering how Netanyahu responded to the Iran nuclear armaments agreement?)  Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a behind the scenes office worker who is the eyes and ears of a fetching Bradley Fine (Jude Law), the derring do part of the partnership. In constant danger, Fine is able to navigate his way out because of the technological brilliance and split hair timing of the voice in his earpiece, and the pictures in his contact lenses, both provided by “Coop.”


The movie pokes fun at all those James Bond movies starring Sean Connery with super toys to get our man out of trouble, and hot cars to zip him around town and drive furiously in chase scenes. There is also a Bond girl, played by Rose Byrne who several times upstages McCarthy as the funniest player in the movie.   She has deadpan delivery and exquisite timing.


Rose Byrne

I even enjoyed the silliness of the stereotyped Italian lecher, a character named Aldo, played by Peter Serafinowicz. All of the minor characters do their jobs expertly, creating an ensemble of spies in the office led by Allison Janney, and featuring a brilliant comic turn by Jason Statham who is so dim it is a miracle he lives from day to day.


Peter Serafinowicz

A silly movie is just the thing summer demands. This one made me very happy.



About Patricia Markert

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