Melissa McCarthy has certainly come a long way, especially in the last 15 years. She started with just bit and voice parts in kids’ cartoons, TV and movie, caught the public eye as the lovable kooky friend Sookie in “Gilmore Girls,” and played several other supporting or secondary roles for a few years before she was offered her first big costarring role in “Mike and Molly.”
McCartney has paid her dues in the industry and now is a box office draw in her own right. She’s headlined with some of the big names in the field, including Sandra Bullock,
I admit, I’ve loved watching McCartney since her days in “Gilmore Girls.” She has that special talent for taking a character and making it her own, putting a distinctive stamp on it. Her take on the totally over-the-top action, comedy crime movie “Spy” is nothing short of hilarious and awesome, even if it is a spoof on the genre.
McCathy’s Susan Cooper goes from a rat-infested basement support job as a CIA analyst to full-on international spy, after she sees her partner’s mark pull the trigger on her partner and all of their other super spies are compromised. Seeking justice for Brad, with whom she’s half in love, she dons the dowdy, drab personas the agency provides and starts out on an undercover surveillance fact-seeking-only mission so that the good guys can recover a serious scary bomb.
But, as is often the case in the field, the bad guys don’t follow SOP causing McCarthy’s agent Cooper to go “off script” to track down her partner’s killer and get the bomb. For a office agent, Susan turns out to be quite proficient at field work, despite everyone else’s doubts. And, after a peek at a video from her training days, turns out she’s just been storing it up for 10 years. She’s quite adept at handling herself, thinking on her feet, worming her way into crooks’ organization and beating the wham out of whoever messes with her.
McCarthy really sells Susan, the often lamentably unconventional spy. She goes from basically an office assistant to chasing international terrorists across several continents, shooting and being shot at, wrestling with killers and jumping onto moving aircraft. McCarthy reaches past the slapstick to action in this one.
The supporting cast shows they have a sense of humor and don’t take themselves too seriously.
Jude Law plays his part as analyst Susan Cooper’s overly self-impressed super-spy partner Bradley Fine with panache. Rose Byrne does the spoiled mob princess Rayna Boyanov, daughter of recently deceased Tihomir Boyanov, who now has to get the illegal good to market well (or badly as this script requires). Jason Statham plays agent Rick Ford, who goes rogue in his efforts to beat Cooper to the bad guys.
Admittedly not the biggest Law or Statham fan, I have a new appreciation for these folks, even 50 Cent has a cameo. Bobby Cannavale, Michael McDonald and Miranda Hart lend their chops to make this film uproariously funny.
And, there are a few cast members — male and female — who by most standards qualify as eye candy, too. Just don’t expect the pretty people to necessarily stay that way or to finish on top in “Spy.”
Ladies, if you cant’ get the guys to go see this one with you, grab your gal pals and hit the theater for two full hours of action coupled with side-splitting comedy that only Melissa McCarthy and crew can deliver. I think I enjoyed it more than “The Heat,” which I find myself stopping to watch anytime it’s on TV these days.
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