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Film Review: 'Spy'

Sahil Kaur |
June 6, 2015 | 10:33 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter


From the director of "Bridesmaids" and "The Heat," Paul Feig brings you the most hilarious, action filled blockbuster of the summer: "Spy."

"Spy" sits atop the generic Bond/Bourne plot while simultaneously delivering a refreshing, non-homogenized spoof of the genre.  

40 year old Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) is a CIA analyst who works from the office as secret agent Bradley Fine's (Jude Law) ear piece, tracking his enemies and navigating him through dangerous situations. When Fine is killed by Bulgarian crime heiress Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), the agency contemplates sending out an unsuspecting agent to track a nuclear device, for which Cooper enlists. 

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Meanwhile, Cooper's best friend and fellow CIA analyst Nancy Artingstall (Miranda Hart) serves as Cooper's biggest cheerleader and lookout throughout the mission. 

Upset that he didn't get the assignment, secret agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham) leaves the agency and pursues the nuclear device on his own terms, always ready to blame Cooper for any mishaps.

One night during the mission, Cooper warns Rayna of her roofied drink and the two eventually become an unlikely duo, seeing as Cooper becomes Rayan's only source of protection and Rayna becomes Cooper's only source of information regarding the nuclear device. 

Assisting at the most convenient times in the most inconvenient ways is Cooper's sexually harassing accidental sidekick, Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz), who adds, considerably, to the film's comedic genre. 

Aside from passing the Bechdel Test with flying colors (there were already 4 main female speaking roles within the first 20 minutes), "Spy's" magic lies in Feig's remarkable ability to stir a comedic angle from nearly every scene. The absolute absurdity of events and the characters' behaviors are enough to make audience members lunge back and forth in their seats, exorcising themselves of laughter.

McCarthy, who has proven herself time and time again as a comedic powerhouse in Hollywood, is just as hilarious, but this time with a dollop of sweetness. McCarthy has been known to play the crass, crazy woman who never knew it about herself, whereas in "Spy," Cooper knows her self worth, though she may struggle with it occasionally, and understands when she is the butt of the joke. Her insecurities in the beginning of the film humanize her in a way that only extends her range and engages the audience with her more. 

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Though Hart and Serafinowicz ran the risk of comically upstaging McCarthy in her own film, the remainder of the ensemble also delivered as Statham made the audience roar within every scene and Byrne elicited her own hysterics with her thick skinned, spiteful demeanor. 

One of the most refreshing messages throughout the film was the constant reminder that a woman's looks are not the most important aspect of her, especially when she's slightly preoccupied as an undercover agent assigned to track a nuclear device amidst a myriad of assassins (a message which, though blatantly obvious, none of the supporting characters understood).

Though a running gag in the film is that Cooper is consistently assigned to hideous and embarrassing undercover identities, McCarthy has no problem dressing it up and remaining physically stunning for the majority of the film. Feig manages to send the message that looks are secondary to one's abilities without making Cooper stereotypically unattractive throughout the film, yet simultaneously doing just that.

It is the film's constant poke at and skillful maneuver through homogenized, hegemonic structures that inhabit contemporary media and social discourse that manages to make the film both hilarious and brilliant. 

Definitely worth your time, Paul Feig's "Spy" hits theatres June 5th.

Reach Staff Reporter Sahil Kaur here and follow her on Twitter here. 



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