Nearly all the main stars from Spy were on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon this week: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham and Jude Law. When Law was on, he mentioned that the cast was a weird, motley crew of people. Look at those three names again: McCarthy, Statham, and Law. Now add these to the mix: Rose Byrne, Allison Janney, Miranda Hart, Peter Serafinowicz, Bobby Cannavale, Morena Baccarin, Sam Richardson, and… 50 Cent? What the fuck? Jude Law was totally right. This is one of the most bizarre group actors ever. None of these names really belong together, but by their talents combined and by the magic wand of director/writer Paul Feig, they go together harmoniously in the most comically glorious way possible.
McCarthy, who should forever be Feig’s muse, plays Susan Cooper, a CIA desk worker who is called into action when all of the field agents are identities are compromised by Rayna Boyanov, a super spy villain arms dealer whose hair grows six inches in each of her scenes throughout the movie. Instead of being given sexy cool aliases when she goes and tracks her down, she is given the most matronly and dowdy disguises. With Cooper’s secret skills and savvy, all of this culminates to the most spectacular vindication for being under-appreciated and stuck behind a desk all those years.
Spy is the follow-up to Bridesmaids that Feig should have given us. I wasn’t a fan of The Heat. It wasn’t terrible, yet it wasn’t the best. I’m just not clamoring to watch it every time that it’s on HBO. But perhaps this was Feig’s plan all along. He gave us a basic palate cleanser before bringing out the big guns with Spy.
The movie is the next stage in evolution when it comes to send-ups of spy movies like Spy Hard, Austin Powers or Top Secret!. It’s absurd, crude, and fucking HIL-AIR-E-OUS. But the one thing that makes it stand out from its predecessors is that it actually feels like a spy movie where the stakes are high and the mission actually feels like something Jason Bourne would have to work through. The only difference is that there is comedy realistically folded in all the right places. For instance, when Cooper makes her very first grotesque kill she vomits. She vomits all over the place. It just makes sense that someone who has never seen such a brutal death, would react that way. And vomit takes are always funny.
As usual, McCarthy shines with her usual improv brilliance, comedic timing and panache — but it’s something you never get tired of. She’s not just one of the best comedic female actors of our time, she’s one of the best comedic actors of our time. Her jokes land one after the other, some are very deliberate, but others just come out effortlessly like smile after a relieving fart.
It’s not just McCarthy that takes the spotlight. She shares the wealth and Feig gives each and every actor — no matter how big or small their part — a time to shine. From Bridesmaids alum Rose Byrne’s “thunder cunt” performance as a superficial condescending mastermind to the horn dog character played by Peter Serafinowicz to giving Miranda Hart a bigger stage to make people laugh, each actor’s skills are not wasted. And Jason Statham just murders it. For real, everything you have heard about how piss-in-your-pants funny he is as a cocky rogue agent is true and then some. Whether Feig wrote all of the jokes or if lines were improvised, all of it was funny. Every last action-packed, R-rated bit of it.
Spy is sure to be the unexpected comedy blockbuster of the year AND it’s one of the only non-sequel, non-based-on-an-existing-franchise movies of the summer. But that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t mind a sequel.
Spy opens in theaters today.