I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to watch a movie about women that actually depicts the world from a woman’s point of view (I know it was written by a man. Get over it. He’s got a great feminist perspective. And hopefully this opens the door for more female-centric movies from female writers and directors). Nor can I tell you how refreshing it is to watch a comedy that is so character driven – McCarthy’s titular Spy undergoes actual development of character, something I feel like I rarely see in comedy these days! And the funniest scene in the movie doesn’t feature any men, imagine that!
I actually thought I was hating this movie for the first 40 minutes or so. It was such a run of the mill “Fatty Fall Down” movie, as we’ve come to call them, and I felt like I could see all the character milestones coming from a mile away. With each increasing cat lady joke, I was becoming less and less interested and more and more disconnected. Until the turn. That was when I realized what I had actually been watching was excellently laid ground work to make this a character driven story about a woman who learns to define herself, instead of letting men, women, superiors, or unrequited love interests do it for her. And it’s not just funny about it; I was straight up fist pumping and cheering for McCarthy’s character as she started to grow and take ownership of her life. This is some really good writing, I ended up loving the way it lulled me into thinking I knew the formula only to finally break the typical female character formula and build something new and unique.
Rose Byrne deserves a nod here as she’s great and hilarious in Spy as she always is. Jude Law actually has a pretty surprising roll in this and he has a ton of fun with it. But I’m only laying out these compliments so I can end with big ups to my man Statham who turns in a madcap, goofball performance that is really, really funny. I wish more filmmakers understood how hilarious his face is. And I truly can’t finish these accolades without sending as many as possible to McCarthy, who understands the image she has (and has somewhat cultivated herself) and uses that to really impactful effect. She is absolutely wonderful in this, and looks positively stunning in a few of these sequences.
Honestly my only real criticism of Spy is that it could’ve been a better spy movie. That’s of course not what it’s trying to do, but it is called Spy and is about that world, I could’ve done with another set piece or two and definitely done with some even more heightened tension. But Feig does prove to be fairly a adept action director. This all bodes very, very well for the upcoming Ghostbusters movie he’s helming, and I couldn’t be more excited.
Spy scored: ★★★ (out of 5)