Spy Review

So I watched Spy…

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I was really looking forward…actually before I begin this review, I’d like to say something about female-driven pieces in Hollywood. I completely agree with the growing idea that movies need better roles for females. I think there’s a wealth of very talented actresses out there that I want to see a lot more of, people like Vera Feramiga, Rose Byrne (who’s in this movie) and countless others. But also, I’d like to see these women leading the movie instead of just being somebody’s love interest. That’s why Melissa McCarthy – love her or hate her – you have to appreciate what she’s doing. She’s broken the mould of how a leading lady should look and behave, and I think she’s really opening up the doors for different kinds of women to begin taking the fore in Hollywood.

But anyway, let’s talk about Spy…

Okay, basic plot: remember Beverly Hills Ninja? Actually Get Smart is a better example. Imagine that movie, that exact plot but with Melissa McCarthy as the bumbling idiot who turns into a master spy.

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This movie is actually really funny. It also steers clear of the typical fat jokes you’d expect and instead has a treasure trove of hysterical one-liners and razor-sharp sarcasm. I love it when comedies do this – when they take the majority of the humour out of silly gags and slapstick and instead invest it in sharp dialogue and well-written wit. This movie uses the talent of its cast to perfection and shows sides of people that you didn’t know were there.

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For example, take Jason Statham, who in this movie is a parody of the master British spy. He’s got amazing skills but he spends most of his time telling you how awesome he is instead of doing anything. I know that when most people see ‘Statham’ on the poster they go in expecting action but he is also a really funny guy with great comedic timing and a sense of sarcasm that will leave you in stitches. If you’ve seen him in Snatch or last year’s Hummingbird (or Redemption depending on which part of the world you live in) his comedic chops won’t surprise you.

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Now another thing that didn’t surprise me was the quality in Rose Byrne’s performance. She’s probably my favourite actress working in Hollywood right now and I love almost everything I see her in (her dull performance in Annie was a fluke). So she plays the villain in this movie who McCarthy’s character has to interact with and their interactions were pure comedic gold. McCarthy’s soft-spoken goof of a character against Byrne’s arrogant superbitch was just awesome to watch and their dialogue was filled with some great barbs of sarcasm.

The one problem I had with this Byrne’s performance, and the performance of a few other actors in this movie, was her accent. She was meant to be Bulgarian or something but went through phases of sounding British then American, it was a little bit annoying but not a major problem. Bobby Cannavale’s accent (and in fact acting) was actually a huge problem. I don’t know what it is with this guy. He’s either a hit or a miss with me –  I can’t figure out whether I like his acting or not; but anyway…

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This movie’s plot is also quite enjoyable and reminded me a lot of Kingsman, in that, it walks that line between being a parody of the spy film genre and actually being a standalone spy thriller. This is a comedy so, inherently, it’s going to make fun of the genre but there are attempts at some action in this movie. Like I said earlier, Statham spends most of his time talking in this movie so don’t expect any big fight scenes from him; but Melissa McCarthy (or at least a stunt double) kicks some serious ass in this movie and definitely had me sold that she could be a spy (at least a movie spy). Only real problem I had with the action was that you could see that the director – Paul Feige – doesn’t really know how to shoot it, so it never really feels smooth when two people actually start fighting.

Overall, this is a really funny spy-comedy. Melissa McCarthy does her standard thing, it’s entertaining but not surprising. Oh yeah, Jude Law’s also in this but also not in it. I think Byrne and Statham really steal the show. So much so that I actually want to see a spin-off movie that just focuses on Statham’s character because he’s hilarious. It’s worth a trip to the cinema, good movie 8/10

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