Friday, June 5, 2015

Melissa McCarthy Gets Smarter In "Spy"

First, Scarlett Johannson gets criticized for making eyes at the Hulk during Avengers: Age of Ultron, although she kicks a fair amount of Ultron butt
Then, Charlize Theron offends fans of Mad Max by yelling orders at him, as if SHE is the star of Mad Max: Fury Road. Actually, she is, although it's a comeback for him, too.
So, will Melissa McCarthy get angry comments because she makes Jason Statham look like a fool in Spy?
Maybe, but they'll also laugh a lot at this great movie that literally introduces a different kind of action hero. We can thank Paul Feig for this. The man behind Bridesmaids wrote and directed this movie.
McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, a CIA agent that helps out super-spy Bradley Fine (Jude Law) in glamorous missions..but only back in the office, warning him what's behind the next corner. She also has a drone or two to cause a distraction to help him out of tight spots. She also has a bit of s crush on him.
The mission is to find a nuclear weapon some bad guy wants to sell. They soon target Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), who plans to sell the bomb after her father gets killed.

However, Bradley gets killed by Rayna, who also reveals she knows every spy the CIA has. So, Susan suggests she go out on the field to finish the mission. One of the agents, Rick Ford (Jason Statham), is offended by this. He thinks he should go, mainly because he makes wild claims that make James Bond look like Nancy Drew. Fortunately, Susan happens to have some good fighting skills, but hasn't had a chance to use them.
She goes undercover, looking like housewives who look way too Midwestern, which isn't lost on her. She's only told to "track and report", but it isn't long before she crosses paths with Rayna, and even infiltrates her circle thanks to some fast thinking. She still has to deal with Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz), an Italian operative who's also handsy, and Rick, who's gone rogue only because he's determined to prove he's as tough as he claims. Whether he is, you'll have to see for yourself.

What's great about this is that McCarthy shows she can be a credible action heroine. Her skills may not be as fluid as Johannson in Avengers, but as long as the bad guy gets decked, it works. There's also a great scene as she fights off another woman in a kitchen, and how that ends is a big surprise.

Bryne is also a hoot in this movie. She may look like a classic villain, but she swears more than McCarthy. There's also great performances by Miranda Hart as a fellow CIA agent who gets mixed up with 50 Cent, and Allison Janney as the deputy director who sends Susan in the field. Firefly fans may be surprised to see Morena Baccarin in a couple of scenes as the female version of Bradley. It should have had more of her, but she has a key role in the story. The movie itself starts with a credit sequence that could have come from a 007 movie.
Of course, her husband Ben Falcone makes a cameo as a guy who wonders if Europe has a certain chicken franchise.

If this movie scores big, even in the face of big dinosaurs next week, maybe Susan Cooper can be the next movie spy icon. It may also be an excellent argument for the upcoming all-female Ghostbusters movie, too.

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