Spy Review
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In recent years, Melissa McCarthy’s films have become predictable; while the stories may have varied, the characters (and the comedy) generally remained the same. But if you think you already know what to expect from her action-comedy Spy, you might be in for a big surprise. Because, this time around, she takes a completely different approach—with shockingly hilarious results.

McCarthy stars as CIA analyst Susan Cooper. Ten years ago, she joined the Agency expecting a life of action and excitement. Instead, she sits at a desk in the rodent-infested basement, handling missions for suave superspy Bradley Fine (Jude Law).

When the CIA’s top agents are all compromised, however, Susan finally gets her chance to venture out into the field to track terrorists and arms dealers. But her mission is further complicated by Rick Ford (Jason Statham), an ultra-competitive rogue agent who’s determined to crack the case before she does.

Spy is the movie that I’ve been waiting for Melissa McCarthy to make—one that allows her to be more than just the same old stereotype. Instead of playing a loud, sloppy character who’s all bluster and no brains, she’s just a regular woman. She’s smart and likable, and it looks like she bathes regularly and even combs her hair. And instead of relying on the usual gags, McCarthy gets a chance to prove that she can be funny without being obnoxious. In fact, the moments when McCarthy resorts to her usual shtick—when she tries too hard to be loud and outrageous and in-your-face—are some of the film’s lowest points. Some bits go a little too far, and some characters are a little too annoying—but, fortunately, it usually isn’t long before the film moves on to something bigger, better, and funnier.

Of course, some of the comedy does still revolve around the fact that Susan doesn’t look or act like the typical movie star. She isn’t supermodel skinny, and she isn’t as smooth as the classic superspy. And, for that reason, she finds herself in some amusingly awkward situations. But her frumpiness isn’t the film’s one note. Instead, it makes fun of the notion that a woman like Susan is expected to be gawky and alone, with only her cats as companions—a notion that she quickly disproves.

Perhaps the film’s biggest surprise, though, is that, while McCarthy is actually incredibly funny, Jason Statham is even funnier. The silly girl and the tough guy go toe-to-toe—she as the lovably bumbling rookie and he as the super-serious veteran—and the result is absolutely hysterical.

Fast-paced and full of clever surprises, Spy is easily McCarthy’s best film. It isn’t without its share of flaws and missteps, but it’s the kind of fun-filled action-comedy that spunky cat ladies, manly men, and everyone in between can enjoy.

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