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Review: Spy


About: [from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia] Spy is a 2015 American action comedy film written and directed by Paul Feig. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, and Jude Law, the film follows the transformation of desk-bound CIA analyst Susan Cooper (McCarthy) into a field agent who attempts to foil the black market sale of a suitcase nuke.

Distributed by 20th Century and produced by Feigo Entertainment and Chernin Entertainment, the film was theatrically released on June 5, 2015. Upon release, the film received critical acclaim and has grossed over $236 million worldwide.

Plot: Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a desk-bound CIA analyst guiding her partner Agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) on a mission to Varna from a CIA office in the Washington, D.C. area. Fine accidentally kills Tihomir Boyanov without first finding a suitcase nuke whose location is known only to Boyanov. Meanwhile, the agency learns that Boyanov’s daughter Rayna (Rose Byrne) might know the location of her father’s device, so they send Fine to infiltrate her home. However, Rayna shoots Fine dead while Susan watches online. Rayna knows the identities of all the agency’s top agents, including Fine and Rick Ford (Jason Statham). Susan, who is unknown to Rayna, volunteers to become a field agent, and her boss, Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney), agrees. Ford quits in disgust over Susan being chosen for the assignment.

I kind of can’t believe that I didn’t review this film when it came out in theatres. It is on DVD now so I saw it again. Yup. It’s really good. A send-up of the Bond flicks it centres on a woman who a) doesn’t fit the Bond-girl stereotype or spy b) is the epitome of the anti-spy. Even Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) has expectations… she has a spy-name ready ‘in case.’ They do not let her use it. As The Daily Mail notes; She would like a sexy alias, but having been handed a distressingly prosaic one — Carol Jenkins — she is sent to Paris, then Rome and Budapest, where she proves herself unexpectedly adept at grappling with nasty heavies at the tops of high buildings.

Susan Cooper gets a generic name like her ‘actual’ name and her cool spy-gadgets are concealed in hemorrhoid wipes, stool softener and a rape whistle. Her spy-watch has a photo-face of the film Beaches. The film capitalizes on the single, big woman stereotype and then subverts it. Wow.

Her disguises are unglamorous and she is given a short, curled, un-sleek, grey wig to wear. Her second disguise is that of a cat-lady who has pictures of her TEN cats. When she goes ‘rogue’ she dyes her natural hair darker and wears a glamorous black dress. As a plus-sized woman this is significant. She is reframing beauty and glamour for bigger women in general, not just in film.

Susan Cooper’s ‘real’ life mirrors her dowdy disguises. Bradley Fine (Jude Law) gives her a diamond ring box that has a cupcake pendant and not her obvious hope for a ring. He asks her to pick up his dry-cleaning and to fire his gardener.

Writer/Director Paul Feig says in The Mary SueI’m a fan of spy movies, I’m a fan of most of the James Bond movies and Bourne movies. But I think Casino Royale was the biggest influence on me, because it was when James Bond had come back from being silly and over-gadgetry. Bond got pretty crazy for many years, starting with Roger Moore, and those movies are super fun to watch, but I’m a fan of the original books that Fleming wrote, and Bond was a pretty dark character. It wasn’t about the gadgets; it was about him living by his wits.

As The Daily Mail says, this film is sometimes an uproarious, American-flavoured pastiche of the James Bond films, Spy opens with a deliciously daft pre-credits sequence in which CIA super-agent Bradley Fine, confronting a terrorist over the location of a hidden nuclear bomb, loses control of his trigger finger following a sudden onset of hay fever.

Melissa McCarthy acquired movie star fame as the overweight sidekick in the 2011 hit Bridesmaids, which was followed up by Identity Thief and The Heat.

She tells the Daily Mail that to play a CIA field agent in Spy, Melissa McCarthy had to exercise more than her comedy. The 44-year-old actress told Live With Kelly and Michael that she also had to put in some hard hours at the gym.

‘I studied martial arts for two months,’ the Gilmore Girls vet said. ‘Turns out I like doing stunts.’

Susan Cooper guides the Jude Law character initially. The Daily Mail says that through his earpiece, and sophisticated satellite technology, she can guide Fine through most perilous situations. But when he meets his match in the chilly but exquisite form of Bulgarian arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), conspiring in the inevitable plot to hold the world to ransom, it is Cooper herself who must replace him in the field.

He is so Bond. The Guardian notes that while he’s never had the chance to actually play James Bond, despite rumours that he’s been in the running, Jude Law’s turn in Spy shows that he would make a convincingly slick secret agent.

It’s a smallish role for the actor, who has been enjoying a bit of a comeback of late with roles in The Grand Budapest Hotel, Dom Hemingway and Black Sea, all suggesting he’s breaking free of his pretty–boy shackles and seeking a more varied set of roles.

Rather like the recent Kingsman: The Secret Service, Paul Feig’s highly entertaining film derives much of its comedy from a combination of everyday life, with its mundane issues and challenges, and the glamorous, dangerous world of international espionage. Thus, a secret agent who needs his antihistamines, and a CIA control room in Virginia afflicted with a serious pest-control problem.

This film is REALLY good! Rent it!


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