Granger on Movies: ‘Spy’
Published 10:34 am, Friday, June 12, 2015
After the sexy, satirical James Bond-style opening sequence, there’s seemingly timid Susan Cooper (McCarthy), a CIA agent, working as an analyst in Langley, Va., using high-tech surveillance to serve as the eyes and ears of an urbane operative, Bradley Fine (Jude Law). She’s obviously in love with him, and he uses her devotion for his personal advantage.
When a terrorist poses a nuclear bomb threat and the other field agents’ identities are compromised, Susan’s boss, Deputy Director Elaine Crocker (Alison Janney), dispatches her overseas, because her face is unknown to the enemy. Besides, Susan’s had years of successful field training and this is the opportunity she’s been waiting for.
While her flustered colleague, Nancy (Miranda Hart), serves as Susan’s liaison in the dingy, vermin-infested basement of CIA headquarters, her presence in Paris/Rome/Budapest enrages chauvinistic veteran operative Rick Ford (Jason Statham), intrigues an overly-amorous Italian associate (Peter Serafinowicz), and bewilders Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), a ruthless Bulgarian arms dealer.
After working with McCarthy in “Bridesmaids” and “The Heat,” writer/director Paul Feig tailored this cheerfully caustic, often profane, feminist project to her talents.
One of the funniest sequences involves gadgets Susan’s given: an arsenal disguised as stool softeners, anti-fungal cream and hemorrhoid wipes, suitable for her assumed identity as a frumpy housewife from Iowa. Another involves Susan’s kitchen fight with an assassin (Nargis Fakhri) that’s been comically choreographed so that various cooking utensils become lethal weapons.
In addition to McCarthy, Feig’s casting is spot-on. With her crimson lips and haughty demeanor Rose Byrne is a classic femme fatale, while Jason Statham gets a chance to show his comedic timing, as his surly, dismissive, macho meathead is constantly confounded. Plus, there’s deft British comedienne Miranda Hart, suave Jude Law, no-nonsense Allison Janney and rapper 50-Cent — as himself.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Spy” is a silly, delightfully skewed 7, an absurdly amusing diversion.
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