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Spy (8/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 119 minutes.

Not for children.

Melissa McCarthy has been in films I loved and hated. Bridesmaids (2011) was stomach-turning; Tammy (2014) worse, although I thought anything worse than Bridesmaids virtually impossible. But on the other side of the ledger are Identity Thief (2013), which was laugh out loud funny, and St. Vincent (2014), which was more poignant than funny, but which showed she could act as well as be a comedienne.

Spy is a combination of the good and the bad. For 45 minutes I was looking at my watch, willing the time to pass. But then, when she actually gets out in the field, it became not only funny but interesting. She starts out as a spotter for James Bondish agent Jude Law. But when Law gets shot, she’s sent out into the field to become an agent herself and that’s when things begin to click.

For the first hour, I was not impressed. Unfunny, hackeneyed, I was certain I was in for a long two hours. But after McCarthy becomes a real agent, the movie got ahold of itself and became a funny thriller spoof of the James Bond genre.

Jason Statham adds a comedic role as a fellow spy who is incredibly jealous of the fact that McCarthy has been sent into the field and does everything he can to take over.

Writer/director Paul Feig, who was responsible for Bridesmaids, shows that he really does have the ability to make a funny comedy without the aid of smutty jokes. While Law is given co-star credit, it’s McCarthy’s film and Statham has a much more important role than Law, whose appearances are amazingly few for someone who is given such a prominent credit.

It’s not the best work McCarthy has done, but it ends up as one of her better efforts and shows that she can carry a movie by herself if she’s given good material.