I Write These Movie Reviews Locked in the Trunk of Your Car. Thanks for the Snacks!!
Writer/director/glasses-wearer Caitlyn Paul Feig has found his own specialized niche: R-Rated comedies that exclusively star Caitlyn Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, The Heat) . As you know, there’s that femme-centric Ghostbusters reboot coming out next year that will no doubt ruin some peoples’ childhoods because they’ve chosen to not to remember that they were violated by their Uncle Barry except in the deep recesses of their consciousness and the original Ghostbusters is the happiest memory of their childhood until the one day their eating a caramel and that triggers something because Uncle Barry used to give them caramels just before he went into their rooms and then had his unholy way with them and then told them not to mention it to mom and dad and then it’ll just be their happy little secret and BTW, here’s a caramel for you because you were such a good little boy/girl. Then they cried themselves to sleep sucking on a caramel and the next day mom, dad, Uncle Barry and Barry’s unsuspecting wife Anna would watch a VHS copy of Ghostbusters and everyone one would laugh and how could there be anything wrong in the world if something funny like Ghostbusters could exist? Surely he/she must be dreaming this stuff because look at Uncle Barry and Dad, just laughing at the Stay-Puft Marshmallow man.
After the movie, Uncle Barry gives you a caramel…along with a knowing *wink*.
Personally, I love Ghostbusters and am looking forward to the reboot with McCarthy and every female cast member, past and present, of SNL. It can’t be any worse than Ghostbusters II…
Lest you think I had an Uncle Barry in my life, you’d be wrong. I was abused by my priest just like everyone else. His name was Father Barry (hey…). And Father Mick. I don’t hold a grudge. Or even remember most of it. Except when someone shows me some of the footage they uploaded on YouTube. You’ve seen it but you can’t tell it’s me because I’m wearing an altar boy uniform and a black hangman’s mask.
I still have the mask. And the uniform. And the Super 8 Camera they used.
How does Paul Feig’s new action comedy Spy rank in the Feig/McCarthy oeuvre? Well, it’s definitely in the top 3. Bridesmaids is still my favorite, simply for resuscitating Wilson Phillips. I can’t decide whether I like Spy or The Heat more, which is probably a good thing as they’re both perfect summer movie diversions.
Spy doesn’t necessarily subvert the spy movie genre, but gives you exactly what you want from it as the movie’s startlingly adept at delivering both comedy and action in equal doses.
If you’ve seen the trailer you pretty much know the high concept premise of Spy.
Caitlyn Jude Law plays super spy Bradley Fine. He’s hunting a European bad guy with a multi-syllabic European name that I don’t feel like looking up. His eyes and ears on satellite is Susan Cooper (McCarthy), a career desk jockey who’s good at what she does but has never had the ambition or the chance to make it in the field. Bad guy is the only one who knows the location of a nuclear bomb which he’s going to sell to the highest bidder.
But he won’t get a chance because Bradley accidentally shoots him in the face (the “There’s a lot of pollen in this room” from the trailer).
Because she’s really good at her job, Susan surmises that European bad guy’s daughter Rayna (Bridesmaids’ Caitlyn Rose Byrne) is the only one that would be trusted with the location of the bomb, and she’s right.
Bradley tries to find Rayna. He does. Except he gets shot. Susan and everyone else in the CIA is sad because Bradley was one good agent with a British accent. Now Rayna has the bomb and she knows the identities of the all the agents that would be sent after her, much like the plot of the first Mission: Impossible and Skyfall.
Except for Susan. She’s technically an agent, but she has no experience in the field even though she’s been fully trained.
So Susan gets put into the field to find the person who’s trying to buy the bomb but not to engage in anything. We all know how that’s going to work out…
This basic premise is merely the setup for R-rated sight gags and some unexpectedly well-rendered set pieces. Not to be confused with that limp I Spy remake from 2002.
What Works With Spy
- A kitchen fight sequence that just like every kitchen fight sequence you’ve ever seen in a movie except…except nothing. It’s still fun and executed well enough to make it believable that McCarthy is doing everything onscreen.
- Of all the big-name principles, it’s Miranda Hart, as Susan’s mousy office mate Nancy, that steals every scene she’s in. Is it much like Melissa McCarthy stole every scene in Bridesmaids? Not quite at that pitch, but pretty close. A wordless shot with her and a mouse got the biggest non-McCarthy related laugh.
- Maybe the best thing Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson has ever been in. Granted, I’ve never seen the Jim Sheridan-directed Get Rich Or Die Trying, though it has been on my Netflix Queue for the better part of a decade.
What Doesn’t Work With Spy
- Much like his toothless appearance in Furious 7, Caitlyn Jason Statham shows up intermittently for no reason to provide minor comic relief. One gets the feeling he had a much bigger part except it ended up on the cutting room floor. Though he does get one of the funniest speeches in the movie.
I suppose this is progress, as the male characters are underwritten and serve as window dressing to McCarthy and Rose Byrne.
You loved Bridesmaids. You really liked The Heat. You will also really like Spy. You will wait until you actually see Ghostbusters 2016 before you pass judgment.
I just realized that Paul Feig looks kind of like Woody Allen’s nephew, with the glasses and all, with Uncle Woody’s film niche being Problems of rich white people.
Weird…Right before began writing this review I was eating a caramel I found right by my keyboard. I didn’t think anything of it but now I feel a little woozy and…
*Noel was found in a ditch 9 hours later, dressed in his old altar boy uniform and hangman’s mask. An investigation is underway. Hopefully, he’s awake, the bruises heal, the blood clots, and can walk upright enough to review Jurassic World next week.
Buy 'Spy' Here!
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© 2020 Noel Penaflor