Fourth Coast Entertainment -

By Craig Thornton
FCE Contributing Writer 

I Spy the best Melissa McCarthy movie, ever!

 

Last updated 8/2/2015 at 12:36pm | View PDF

Melissa McCarthy in Spy the Movie

In Spy, Melissa McCarthy plays a brilliant, but frumpy unsung CIA agent (Susan Cooper) who works from a vermin infested basement calmly and precisely guiding suave, sleek super-agent Bradley Fine (marvelously played by the gifted Jude Law) through one perilous encounter and deadly mission after another. Fine and Cooper have an intimate working relationship as she alerts him through an earpiece of would be assassins around the corner and keeps him alive using amazing infrared camera technology that is ubiquitous in hostile territory. Cooper also has a secret crush on Fine, although Fine appreciates Cooper's professional acumen, he is too self-absorbed and obsessed with his glamorous job to see her as a person, let alone an attractive woman.

When an opportunity arises for Cooper to go "in the field" her boss, played by the always good Allison Janney, concedes; after all no one would recognize her because she works in the basement and has a decidedly unsophisticated appearance. This irks caffeinated tough guy and fellow agent, Rick Ford, (Jason Statham), whose ego and bravado clearly outsize his talent and results. Statham is a riot eschewing and poking fun at his action star image. In a hysterical scene he regales his macho and amazing antics to a disbelieving McCarthy in a monologue that could be used in Red Bull commercials.

The villainess is played smugly and adeptly by Rose Byrne. Coifed in a preposterous do that underscores her towering superiority complex, Byrne's crisp, brittle, yet remarkably human Rayna Boyanov is a brilliant caricature. When Rayna and Susan's relationship deepens and they become on again off again allies, Byrne's comedic chops shine. Miranda Hart plays Nancy B. Artingstall, Cooper's single gal pal, who like Cooper is unassuming but has fantastic talents. Hart is a great comic foil, whose demure naivety perfectly complements McCarthy's ballsy kick-ass transformation from insecure desk bound nerd to world class spy. The A list cast is completed by Bobby Cannavale, who plays the greasy villain straight, but with his tongue in his cheek.

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I loved this movie. Writer/Director Paul Feig has created an action adventure comedy that is a blast to watch. At a time when there are few interesting roles for women in Hollywood, he has written four. Feig has a great handle on comedic ensemble acting and it shows. The banter and interaction of Spy's characters feels spontaneous and charged. He has cast the movie perfectly, with major movie stars shining in secondary roles, enhancing, not distracting from charismatic McCarthy's dynamic central performance. Like all great comedic actors she isn't afraid to make fun of herself, but here she does it in the context of the character arc of a woman who gains confidence and drives the plot. No one can hurl one liners and insults like McCarthy. Spontaneous and rapid, she just seems to be operating on more cylinders than other actors working today.

Throughout all this, she remains the feisty underdog, immensely likeable and real. This is what makes her a bona fide movie star. The fact that she may not resemble a traditional movie star is irrelevant and shouldn't be the topic of conversation anymore. Let's not give Hollywood the pat on the back for embracing her, it does not mean that suddenly the men in power in La La Land have evolved, her fame has to do with us, the viewer. If she sells tickets Hollywood will be behind her.

And she will continue to sell tickets, because she is great. I cannot wait to see Spy again.

 

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