I don’t watch a lot of comedy movies. But I’m a fan of Feig’s resume when it comes to TV. He created Freaks and Geeks! He’s directed episodes for The Office, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, Mad Men, and (possibly the greatest show of all time ever, according to yours truly) Arrested Development.
So even though I’m way behind the times when it comes to the action-comedy, it’s easy for me to see that Feig and mega comedienne Melissa McCarthy (The Boss, Gilmore Girls) know what they’re doing in Spy. And while it gets a little loud and a little gross at times, Spy brings laughs, moments of sweetest, and just the right amount of goof.
The premise is simple: Spy takes the secret agent action movie and flips it on its head. As a 90’s kid who grew up playing James Bond: Goldeneye on Super Nintendo and watching Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, I loved watching Jude Law as the sleek CIA agent who can defeat a posse of assailants and hotwire a boat - all without messing up his hair.
But in this take, we see Mr. Perfect Agent has a secret weapon in his ear: fellow agent Susan Cooper, embodied by the masterful McCarthy. It’s fabulous and somehow so gratifying to watch Cooper give hilarious and lifesaving commentary to Law’s character (named “Fine” - because of course he is), telling him when to shoot, when to hide, and even intervening to save his life.
(And all these years, we thought James Bond was doing it on his own steam!)
But when the names of active CIA agents get leaked to a foreign villain bent on selling a dangerous nuke to the highest evil bidder, Susan Cooper must leave behind the tech office to prove her worth in the field. And what starts as a track-and-report mission naturally misfires into a helter-skelter, cross-country European adventure to save the world...and provide a way for Cooper to prove (to her boss and to herself) that she can be more than a “wingman.”
In the end, the plot and writing are pretty secondary to the comedic strengths of the cast and the fun (often poignant) commentary on both society and the film industry. But it’s a fun romp, especially if you’re up for a little over-the-top silliness and the occasional splash of spy violence - sometimes way more intense than I was expecting in a comedy! McCarthy, also whetting her chops with recent forays into writing and producing, has proven she’s a lovable and capable leading lady. I look forward to what she will continue to bring to the silver screen, both in front and behind of the camera.