“SPY” Proves That Feig and McCarthy Truly Make A Great Team

By Scott Kurland

Film: SPY
Starring: Melissa McCarthy, Jude Law, Rose Byrne, Jason Statham, Bobby Cannavale, Morena Baccarin, and Allison Janney
Rated R
Director: Paul Feig

I hope that one day Paul Feig is given a lifetime achievement award for his work in comedy. The man created the cult TV show “Freaks & Geeks”, he was one of the leads in “Heavy Weights”, and as a director he’s help showcase funny strong women on three separate occasions . This female film trend started with “Bridesmaids”, then worked its way through “The Heat”, and now Feig has written and directed this week’s film “SPY”. Feig and Melissa McCarthy have said they are trying to craft a female James Bond franchise, let’s see if they did it, shall we?

McCarthy stars as Susan Cooper, a top analyst for the C.I.A. Cooper is bubbly, sweet, and really great at her job. She gets to be the voice in the ear of Bradley Fine (Jude Law), a James Bond wannabe who Susan is in love with. When a deadly nuke goes missing, and all the identities of the C.I.A. are compromised by a mad woman (Rose Byrne), it’s up to Susan to go into the field. However, one of the C.I.A’S deadliest agents Rick Ford (Jason Statham) hates this idea and goes rogue to find the bomb. Can Susan become like one of the agents she’s helped for so long or is she D.O.A?

Last year I reviewed McCarthy in “Tammy”. I said how harmless that movie was. I also said she better up her game or she’ll be in Eddie Murphy territory. Well McCarthy listened and brought her A game. Susan Cooper is not only a hysterical role for McCarthy, but she’s a great role model for women and girls. You don’t need to be super skinny, nor do you need to be a “likely hero”. As long as you are strong emotionally and have heart you can be a hero. This might be my favorite role for McCarthy, I did get a little annoyed when she tried to replicate her tough girl role from “The Heat”, but that can be overlooked. McCarthy does some of her best work in “Spy”, and I hope this becomes a franchise for her. I would love to see at least two more Susan Cooper adventures.

This may surprise you but Jason Statham is AMAZING as a comedic actor. His timing, deadpan delivery, and physical comedy are astonishing to watch. Statham’s Rick Ford is one part Jason Bourne, two parts Chev Chelios from “Crank”, and all parts Inspector Clouseau. Feig wrote this role with Statham in mind, and I’m so glad he did. I’m a big Statham fan for films like “The Italian Job”, “Snatch”, and to a lesser extent the first “Transporter” film. These days Statham plays more of the brooding angry everyman in “The Expendables” and “Furious 7”, but I wish he’d go back to comedy. Statham makes “SPY” even better than I thought it could be. I want to see more action comedies starring Jason Statham. If the Rock can pull it off, I think Statham can too.

I realize I’m gloating and gushing over “SPY” and that surprises me. I had very little hope for this film. I thought it was going to be a routine Bond knock off, but Paul Feig has captured lightning in a bottle. The written is exceptional, the plot is semi-believable, and these characters seem very real. I imagine there is a Susan Cooper that works for the C.I.A. in their analytics department. I even believe theirs a female arms dealer like Rose Byrne, rat nest hair and all. Paul Feig continues to prove to everyone he is one of the best comedic director. Not since Harold Ramis have I looked forward to comedies. Feig is the only comedic director I know who has had three success on his hands, and hopefully “Ghostbusters” continues that tradition.

“SPY” is one of the funniest films of the year. I’m not going to say it is the best, but it’s up there. McCarthy and Statham sell the acting, Feig sells the story, and the action speaks for itself. This is one example of a film that keeps the ideas simple, which leads to bigger pay offs, better action and some great one liners from McCarthy and Statham.“SPY” has the early makings to be a tremendous franchise for everyone involved, I hope they don’t muck it up. Do yourself a favor and see “SPY” you won’t be disappointed by this slice of comedic genius.

scott kurlandComment