Let me start off by saying that I absolutely hated the excrescence that was Bridesmaids. It was a hideous waste of a large number of very funny women (not to mention Chris O’Dowd), and it left an incredibly bad taste in my mouth. And there are bits of Spy that remind me of Bridesmaids, which in isolation would be merely annoying, but which, by recalling its predecessor, make me crazy.

That said: Spy is tremendous. Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) works for the CIA as support staff for Bradley Fine (Jude Law), a dishy, wise-cracking, champagne-swilling secret agent in the James Bond mold. When he botches a mission and manages to get himself killed, Susan must go into the field to keep a dirty nuke off the terrorist market. Her boss Elaine (Allison Janney) has no faith in her; her best friend Nancy (Miranda Hart, and I hope this represents the thin end of the wedge in my getting to watch her in everything) is naïvely supportive; the other field agent on her team, Rick Ford (Jason Statham), is…well, he’s a Jason Statham send-up, and he’s hilariously loud, badly costumed, and dismissive of Susan. Don’t worry, he gets his comeuppance, and is a howl the entire time.

Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) and Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale) are the terrorists trying to orchestrate the sale of the nuke. Byrne is gloriously sweary and awful, although she never quite manages to sell me on being the type of person who would actually hand over a weapon of mass destruction to someone who would use it. She seems more comfortable telling Susan that her clothes are terrible. The shenanigans that ensue when Susan and Nancy start dealing with Rayna directly, however, are more than funny enough make up for it.

Spy is stylish and clever, and much closer to the kind of female empowerment vehicle that some insane people think Bridesmaids is. It’s great to see McCarthy in a rôle that works against people’s tendency to assume she’s a sad sack (watching her tell Jude Law that, no, she doesn’t have any cats is really well done). Hart and Janney are also a joy to watch, although they don’t play at all against type–when you’re that good, you don’t have to. And, just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, you get Peter Serafinowicz irresponsibly driving an Alfa Romeo!

Stray observations:

  • I also want to chase a hot dude across Paris, but I’d prefer it if he weren’t a terrorist.
  • Jason Statham is wearing a beautiful Aquascutum raincoat for most of the film; his cap, however, prompts Nancy to say that he looks like he’s in the cast of Newsies, and I laughed so hard.
  • There’s a hiccup when McCarthy is driving a moped–she gets on it in heels and gets off it in heels, but she rounds a corner in flats.

Director: Paul Feig
Rating:R
Length:119 minutes
Score: 4/5

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