There was a time when just looking at Woody Allen or Bill Murray made me laugh; those days have waned but remarkable Melissa McCarthy has hilariously filled the laughter gap; she is CIA agent “Susan Cooper” pulled from a bat-infested surveillance basement when her charismatic partner “Bradley Fine” (Jude Law peppers his performance with levity, a touch of “Bondish” savoir faire, and a full head of hair) is killed by wicked “Rayna” (Rose Byrne, a “fine” actress, recently relegated to one -dimensional roles); truly marvelous is that corpulent McCarty is stunning, cunning, and surprisingly suited to be a “spy”.
Writer/director Paul Feig’s script is subtlety infused with a variety of literary/movie references, succinctly delivered, especially by McCarthy; giggles had to be stifled just to grasp the irony and parody of the lines; Feig’s brilliant directing allows the seasoned cast enough license to fly and have the time of their lives: Miranda Hart soars as “Nancy” a frustrated co-worker of Susan’s lusting for the “thrill of the game”; Jason Statham (a deadly force in movie-land) is uproariously suited as “Rick Ford” a CIA agent gone rogue; Allison Janney, “Elaine Crocker” “Spy’s” equivalent to “James Bond’s” “M” lends perspicacity, quick-wittiness and a quirky likability to the role.
Laughter saves, salvages, sooths, elevates spirits; timing is key, and Melissa McCarthy has it in spades; resting comfortably in the sorority of comedic divas: Lucille Ball, Bette Midler, Joan Rivers, Lily Tomlin all gifted “therapists”, capable of igniting the elusive, intangible gene hibernating, longing to be titillated, tickled into uncontrollable spasms; fascinating that humor is subjective, idiosyncratic; I was guffawing while others were dumbfounded at my glee.
“Spy” is a jubilant, at times gory, romp, leaving some, admittedly me, craving for a sequel.
THREE & 1/2 STARS!!!