Without missing stride Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, Identity Thief, The Heat) has stepped into playing The Lead in a Hollywood action comedy. Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat) built Spy and the persona that is Susan Cooper specifically for McCarthy. My guess is that the he will be rewarded handsomely. Although not possessing the physical attributes of her cousin Jenny (Scream 3, Jenny McCarthy Show), the 5’1″ bowling ball that is McCarthy is highly photogenic, can perform top-level physical comedy and can change personality, demeanor and looks with the same skill that a five octave diva singer uses their vocal chords in an opera that requires such skill.
It appears that Feig desires for Spy to be a movie that is silly and forgetful at its core, yet is filled with a multitude of characters, themes and scenes that are positively memorable. Rarely is a film comedy able to perform at a high level for its entire length, let alone one with a 120 minute run-time. Spy is far from perfect, but carries itself without a material drop or lull for all 120 minutes – including the must see end credits.
How Spy’s level of consistency (at least in part) is accomplished is because McCarthy can (and arguably needs to) share the screen with others. Teamed up with actors that are arguably Hollywood principles of their own; Rose Byrne (Troy, Bridesmaids), Jude Law (The Grande Budapest Hotel, Enemy at the Gates), Jason Statham (Italian Job, The Bank Job), Allison Janney (The Ice Storm, Juno) and Bobby Cannavale (Blue Jasmine, Chef) McCarthy can take, share or handoff the scene with equal aplomb.
For those of you who know McCarthy, she is a veteran stand-up comic who can improvise with the very best. At one moment she can kill someone (figuratively) with a foul-mouthed skewering observation and at another can appear to be genuinely vulernable and in need of a helpful hand. With Spy, McCarthy gets to play both extremes and everything in between. It should be noted that Spy is also a violent and bloody action movie where a lot of blood is spilled; even by the hand of McCarthy’s Susan Cooper.
A pleasant surprise awaiting viewers are Miranda Hart (Call The Midwife) as Nancy B. Artinghall and Peter Serafinowisz (Shaun of the Dead) as Aldo. The roles and performances by these actors secure Spy being categorized as a Winner.