Star – Jude Law & Melissa McCarthy
Genre – Comedy
Run Time – 120 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Awards – 2 Golden Globe Nominations
Amazon – £10.00DVD £14.99 Blue Ray
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So along came Bridesmaids, the first top quality comedy I can remember that was made for girls, understood by girls and, most importantly, made the girls scream with laughter. They get that movie more than boys ever will, the message that when the boys are not around the girls are just as laddish, naughty and childish as the boys.
The chubby star of that movie is Americas Dawn French, Melisa McCarthy, who teams up with Bridesmaids director Paul Feig once again, this time to send up the spy genre, Spy, another big hit. McCarthy is rapidly becoming the Adele of the movie industry and this one has firmly put the big funny lady on top of the pile. In the 1970s before the days of pop videos if was all about the talent and voice and not the look and body size for hit records and it’s clearly McCarthy’s brilliant comic talent that makes her a hit. If you are a star, you are a star! The Golden Globes certainly think so and this week she was nominated for her performance in Spy.
Alongside her in this Miss Moneypenny spoof is our Jude Law and Jason Statham, sending themselves up as the various British secret service agents of times past, Statham particularly uncouth and loud doing his Daniel Craig. We also get to see the Hollywood movie debut of our very own Miranda Hart, playing her usual bumbling and gauche comedy role. Isn’t it great that regularly looking and shaped gals can still be stars.
• Melissa McCarthy as Susan Cooper / Carol Jenkins / Penny Morgan
• Jason Statham as Rick Ford
• Rose Byrne as Rayna Boyanov
• Jude Law as Bradley Fine
• Miranda Hart as Nancy B. Artingstall
• Bobby Cannavale as Sergio De Luca
• Allison Janney as Elaine Crocker
• Peter Serafinowicz as Aldo / Albert
• Morena Baccarin as Karen Walker
• Richard Brake as Solsa Dudaev
• Nargis Fakhri as Lia
• Björn Gustafsson as Anton
• 50 Cent as himself
• Verka Serduchka as himself
• Will Yun Lee as Timothy Cress
Agent Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) works in the basement at CIA Headquarters, Langley, Virginia, alongside her best friend Agent Nancy B. Artingstall (Miranda Hart), directing and guiding missions from base through body cameras and earpieces, super agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law), Susan’s particular favorite. She is in his earpiece on missions and has a huge crush on him but not reciprocated, of course. But a mission goes badly wrong when the girls are distracted by a rodent infestation in their office (it was bats from the ceiling the day before) and their star agent is gunned down chasing super villain Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), who knows where the stolen nuke is. Boyanov also has a list of the identities of the rest of the CIA’s best agents and she tells the CIA down the lens that she is going to kill them all.
On that list is the testosterone explosion that is Agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham), super sexy Karen Walker (Morena Baccarin) and Agent Timothy Cress (Will Yun Lee). Thye don’t like being compromised and want to rectify the situation. But CIA operations director Elaine Crocker (Allison Janney) doesn’t want to send in the heavy squad and decides the least conspicuous agent would be more appropriate. That would be Agent Cooper, not exactly the ideal field agent. But it’s agreed and she is dispatched to Paris to locate and report and observe Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale), the likely buyer of the nuke that will lead to both the bomb and Boyanov. Interpol Agent Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz) is assigned to help her and immediately tries to jump in her knickers. Welcome to the world of sexist field agents.
This is rather funny folks, and not just slapstick, gross-out silliness like most Hollywood comedies. Its subtle, clever tongue-in-cheek giggles throughout as McCarthy puts in an impressive comic turn as the chubby deskbound agent. Being fat and plain you have to be genuinely funny in a comedy the way John Candy was or you are on your own. I laughed all the way through this and surprised I did as I didn’t like McCarthy’s loud mouth character in Bridesmaids, that role somewhat typecast in the two follow up McCarthy comedies called Heat and Tammy so warning signs here. But this is a more assured and layered turn in a movie playing on the stereotypes throughout. Yes it does descended into run-of-the-mill Hollywood fayre towards the last third as Feig sets up the expected ending the mostly the comedy is original and almost British like.
Bridesmaids did $288 million from its $32 million budget and Spy on the way their fast at $235 million from a $65,000 budget as the DVD sales kick in and McCarthy clearly has a solid following now. Statham is fun sending himself up and improving that comic timing whilst Jude Law plays Jude Law, which is ironic in a way one can’t explain. Fairplay to Miranda Hart doing the awkward tall English girl thing again for a decent cheque and a fun cameo from forgotten English TV impressionist Peter Serafinowicz as the randy Italian spy.
Critics say there is a feminist edge to it but I see only a role reversal comedy with the girls getting the best lines and scenes, which they deserve. The guest appearance by 50 Cents is clearly there because he is bankrupt and the Spy producers would like some black folks to go and watch the film but good fun all the same, the way Mike Tyson was in The Hangover. You will laugh at this movie and it will get you early on, its real strength. It’s the funniest American film since The Other One with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.
In a long line of Spy spoofs I think this could well be the best one. Johnny English was truly terrible although I did like the rather underrated ‘1-Spy’ with Eddie Murphy and John Candy and Dan Akroyd in Spies Like Us. I haven’t seen The Kingsman; The Secret Service with Colin Firth but it gets good ratings so maybe Daniel Craig has also sparked up the comedy spy spoof genre, as well as the Bond franchise.
Imdb.com – /10.0 (120,002votes)
Rottentomatos.com –93% critic’s approval
Metacriitc.com – 75% critic’s approval
Some bloopers from the cast. Why do they think 15 minutes of actors fluffing their lines is funny?
==Behind the Scenes==
Standard stuff as cast & crew celebrate their hit comedy. The big stars rarely do this, the case here, Jude Law nowhere to be seen.
Time Magazine –‘Feig keeps his Spy machinery cranking so smoothly that nothing said or done feels as outrageous as, in fact, it is. The truth serum Spy drops into our fizzy drinks makes us feel so good that we don't even realize we've been schooled’.
Press.com - ‘Melissa McCarthy takes a character who typically blends into the background and makes her visible, forcing us to see the inherently sexist tropes of the super spy genre’.
The Sun –‘If Austin Powers was the ultimate Bond parody, Spy is the ultimate Ms Moneypenny satire’.
LA Times –‘Paul Feig has finally provided [McCarthy] with the star vehicle that she needed, and the result is the funniest comedy so far this summer’.
Movie Talk –‘A rib-tickling espionage spoof that gives a confident female-centred spin to the traditionally ultra-masculine spy movie genre’.
Reel Talk –‘Very funny things happen in practically every scene. I can hardly wait to see the sequel’.
Last year, two new channels were given a bit of a fanfare welcome to our screens: Alibi and Watch. Alibi took the place of what was called UKTV Drama, and while it retains a lot of the channels that were on there before, it does so in a much more controlled and organised fashion.
However, what it does is focus on the very popular genre of crime, mixing it with drama to satisfy those of us who are particularly fond of the genre. At the beginning of each programme, it states that it was originally commissioned by the BBC, but chosen by Alibi for our viewing interest.
The programmes include such classics as Bergerac and Diagnosis Murder, the latter showing that shows that did air on the BBC aren't always British ones. My favourites tend to be the ones that air a little later at night, due to their content, such as Waking The Dead and Silent Witness. Usually, when these programmes are aired on BBC, they are done so in a two-part fashion, with each part shown on different nights, even on different weeks. However, Alibi puts the parts together to give us a feature length showing of the programme, which I much prefer.
I particularly liked the BBC adaptation of Pullman Ruby in the Smoke, starring Billie Piper, and the occasional INspector Lynley drama often finds its way onto our screen. I tend to stay away from Spooks, as you need to have some form of historical knowledge of the show in order to understand what is going on, from my point of view. The same goes with The Bill, usually.
I really like this channel. I love reading crime drama and thriller books, and to get them on TV as well is great for me. The channel offers enough variety in its scheduling to keep me interested and to not get fed up with the same show night after night, and overall, I usually plan the occasional evening around what Alibi is showing at 9pm that night. It's on channel 133 for you Sky viewers, with there being an Alibi+1 channel on 209, which is shown an hour later if this suits you better, or if you miss the beginning of something and are willing to wait for the start, an hour later. A recommended channel.