Melissa’s mission ac­com­plished O

Spy ca­per is McCarthy’s fun­ni­est movie since Brides­maids

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ON STAGE -

Cer­tifi­cate 15 Stars Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Ja­son Statham, Rose Byrne, Mi­randa Hart, Al­li­son Jan­ney, Bobby Can­navale, 50 Cent SCAR-NOM­I­NATED actress Melissa McCarthy re­unites with Brides­maids writer-direc­tor Paul Feig for an ac­tion-packed mission, which would leave James Bond de­cid­edly shaken and stirred by its un­ortho­dox ap­proach to 21stcen­tury es­pi­onage.

Punc­tu­ated by thrilling chases and a fre­netic knife fight in a restau­rant kitchen, Spy is a ter­rif­i­cally en­ter­tain­ing ca­per, jam-packed with belly laughs and foul-mouthed out­bursts.

The hi­jinks are un­der­pinned by an­other win­ning per­for­mance from McCarthy as a deskbound an­a­lyst at the CIA, who is cham­pi­oned for her moist home­made cakes rather than her sharp in­tel­lect.

Brains arm-wres­tles brawn in Feig’s po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect and up­roar­i­ous script, in­clud­ing an amus­ing cameo from rap­per 50 Cent as him­self and a juicy sup­port­ing role for Mi­randa Hart.

While the lead­ing lady proves her doubters wrong in the name of world peace, Ja­son Statham lam­poons his tough guy screen im­age as a CIA op­er­a­tive, who was clearly at the shal­low end of the gene pool when they were dol­ing out in­tel­li­gence.

One wordy scene – per­haps the most dia­logue Statham has ever de­liv­ered in a sin­gle take – is a par­tic­u­lar high­light.

Suave se­cret agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) com­pletes some of the Agency’s most danger­ous mis­sions thanks to the quick-think­ing and hi-tech gad­getry of an­a­lyst Su­san Cooper (McCarthy).

He takes all of the ac­claim while Su­san re­mains firmly in the back­ground haunted by her con­trol­ling mother’s man­gled mantra: “Well be­haved women do make his­tory.”

When Bradley and the other agents, in­clud­ing Bri­tish bruiser Rick Ford (Statham), are com­pro­mised, Su­san puts her­self for­ward for ac­tive duty to in­fil­trate the in­ner cir­cle of arms dealer Rayna Boy­anov (Rose Byrne).

CIA deputy direc­tor Elaine Crocker (Al­li­son Jan­ney) places her trust in Su­san to com­plete the per­ilous mission with­out any field ex­pe­ri­ence. “Track and re­port only,” in­structs Elaine.

Guided by her dither­ing col­league Nancy Art­ingstall (Hart), Su­san adopts a se­ries of dowdy dis­guises to get close to Rayna with­out arous­ing sus­pi­cion.

“I look like some­one’s ho­mo­pho­bic aunt,” re­marks Su­san about one of her fake per­sonas.

As Rayna pre­pares to sell a stolen de­vice to Ser­gio De Luca (Bobby Can­navale), Su­san throws cau­tion to the wind to avert global dis­as­ter.

Open­ing with an ex­tended ac­tion se­quence and Saul Bassin­spired open­ing ti­tles re­plete with a Bond-es­que thun­der­ous bal­lad, Spy is a rip-roar­ing treat.

McCarthy throws her­self into her role with gusto, mix­ing stee­li­ness with lov­abil­ity as she bat­tles armed hench­men, speeds af­ter a tar­get on a scooter and tries to stop a bad guy from es­cap­ing in his he­li­copter.

Hart es­sen­tially plays her­self, but she’s a snug fit amidst a strong An­glo-Amer­i­can cast, who de­liver Feig’s zing­ing one-lin­ers with tongues wedged firmly in cheek.

The spirit of 007 per­vades ev­ery glossy frame, but with old-school chau­vin­ism turned on its head to af­firm a mes­sage of girl power and in­de­pen­dence.

Su­san Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) proves to be more than a match to her fel­low agents

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