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Spy review: Melissa McCarthy shows Jason Statham how it is done

Spy reinvents the world of international espionage, and puts Melissa McCarthy in its centre. With Jason Statham as the bumbling sidekick, Rose Byrne and Nargis Fakhri as her arch-nemesis, the Paul Feig film keeps the laughs coming non-stop.

hollywood Updated: Jun 20, 2015 20:17 IST
Jyoti Sharma Bawa
Jyoti Sharma Bawa
Hindustan Times
Spy review,Spy,Movie review


Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Nargis Fakhri

Director: Paul Feig

Rating: 3.5/5

It takes immense talent to make a comic film on international espionage, hire Jason Statham, make him the bumbling sidekick while your hero is a fat, middle-aged, love-sick woman. And then make the entire ride deliriously funny and meta at the same time.

That's Spy for you. Melissa McCarthy, who has made the fat-funny woman roles her métier, plays Susan Connor -- a middle-aged Langley agent who showed promise during her initial training but is now relegated to secretarial jobs. She is the voice in the ear of Bradley Fine (Jude Law) -- a flamboyant James Bond-type spy who wears tailored suits and kicks some serious backside.

But it is Melissa who is the real hero as she guides Fine through all the dangers of the mission. Secretly in love with Fine, she also picks up his dry cleaning when she is not helping him stay alive.

Nargis Fakhri's fight scene with Melissa McCarthy in a restaurant kitchen is a must-watch.

Enter the daughter of a dead bad guy who has her hands on a missing nuke (Rose Byrne), Fine goes to the place all well dressed spies go when they die, the rest of agents get rumbled and Susan volunteers to go undercover and recover the nuke.

She is met with a lot of resistance. Most of it from Rick Ford (Jason Statham) who goes on to tell her (throughout the film) how she is unsuited for the job. To make his point, he tells her everything he has done for his country (My left arm was ripped off and I reattached with my right arm). To add insult to injury, CIA gives her aliases of frumpy women, who, in her words, "look like somebody's homophobic aunt."

As her search-and-track mission turns into deep undercover, the let-me-merge-into-background Susan becomes a full-fledged spy who can give it as good as any man around her.

Jude Law plays a James Bond-kind of a character and Melissa is the voice in his ear.

Director-actor duo of Paul Feig and McCarthy (The Heat, Bridesmaids) delivers once again with a clever mix of outlandish situations, smart dialogues and a charm all their own. With so much happening in the film, there is not a fat joke in sight which in itself is a win.

It is McCarthy's show and she delivers. From the wallflower who is happy being relegated to the vermin-infested basement at Langley (a meta commentary about how Hollywood treats its women, and especially the overweight ones) to backside-kicking, toilet-mouthed agent who can kick her way out of any situation, she shows her immense range. This is one actor that Hollywood needs to do more with.

Another cinch is Jason Statham. Who would have known that Hollywood's Mr Strong and Silent had a comic streak in him? Statham's straight-faced parody of his Hollywood persona is a guaranteed laugh-generator.

All disguises given to Melissa by CIA make her look like "somebody's homophobic aunt".

Byrne as the impossibly-coiffured villain and Miranda Hart as Susan's easily excited friend add depth to the film too. Not to forget our very own Nargis Fakhri as Lia. While her role is not substantial, she does wield a knife well. Keep an eye out for her fight with McCarthy in a restaurant kitchen.

A special mention of Spy for taking the all-male world of spies, adding a feminist text to it without taking away an iota of fun. This film pushes the envelope, turn the gender dynamics on their head and you love it. Mr Hollywood fat suits, can we have more of that, please?

First Published: Jun 19, 2015 15:22 IST