Was it about the artistic pairing of Melissa McCarthy and Paul Feig that creates comedy gold? First there was Bridesmaids, where McCarthy showed some serious comedic range as Megan, the groom’s aggressive sister. Then, audiences fell in love with The Heat where McCarthy and Sandra Bullock bonded over being tough chicks who enforce the law. Now, McCarthy gets to go solo as a spy with Feig at the helm.
In Spy, every woman Susan Cooper (played by McCarthy) volunteers to go on a reconnaissance recognizance mission to catch an arms dealer, Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), after she murders Susan’s favorite spy, Bradley Fine (Jude Law). Susan, despite her title as a CIA analyst, is really a desk bound operator who guides Bradley on his top-secret missions. From the beginning, it’s clear that Bradley would not be the super spy that he is without Susan, because of her book knowledge, expertise in reading ever-changing situations, and her undying love for him
Writer/director Feig introduces Susan as “Gee golly, I’m just a regular girl from the Midwest in awe of every agent I meet” type of woman. Susan doesn’t seem to have that special something that, apparently, spies are supposed to have. However, what’s so great about this Spy is that those stereotypical impressions that we have of Susan are blown to bits with one Quantico training academy video clip that silences the naysayers; well, most of them.
Those naysayers are voiced by fellow spy Rick Ford (Jason Statham as a bone head spy who clumsily manages to get out of situations yet embellishes the story when he tells it later). Ford is Susan’s biggest critic throughout the film and probably speaks for the audience members who are too stuck on McCarthy’s size to take her seriously as a real agent. Never fear, McCarthy is a lot more flexible and has way more fight that you think.
Speaking of Statham, he’s not known for
being funny. Then again, Statham and McCarthy tap into something special when they’re riffing off of each other. Susan and Ford trade insults and barbs so rapidly that the actors seem not to be able to keep up with each other.
Statham wasn’t the only one that McCarthy worked well with, though. The interactions between Susan and her co-worker/BFF Nancy (Miranda Hart) are a riot. Hart, who has had her own self-titled TV series in the UK for six years, has lots of fun making the audience laugh. She even wins over rapper 50 Cent in a cameo that is can’t-miss.
Likewise, Byrne and McCarthy work really well together. Byrne’s Rayna is soft-spoken, yet mean in a Miranda Priestly in Devil Wears Prada sort of way. Rayna is the type of woman who makes everything sound beautiful, even when she’s telling one of her goons to kill someone for a minor offense. Juxtapose Rayna’s soft yet vicious demeanor with a brash-talking Susan and the result is hilarious.
Lastly, no one has more fun – and the audience has a good time watching her have fun – than McCarthy herself. She’s actually at her best when she ditches the “Gee, golly” Susan of the Midwest and turns into a Pottymouth Susan who kicks butt and tells everyone off. Not sure if the insults McCarthy hurls at unsuspecting bad guys was written in the script or if she improv’d her way through the scenes, but I’m just glad the editor picked the best ones.
McCarthy and Feig are an awesome team and they have an undeniable connection that allows them to create comedy that is more than just a regular chick flick. It’s the best comedy of 2015. Now, the pressure is on for this duo as they team-up for the upcoming all-female cast of the Ghostbusters reboot (out in 2016). If McCarthy and Feig keep this up, women will delightfully begin to rule the comedy box office and defy those who make the mistake of underestimating the power of a funny woman.