The partnership between Paul Feig and Melissa McCartney has given us two future classics in Bridesmaids and The Heat, both masterful demonstrations of comedy talent whilst never seeming overindulgent.
McCartney the break out star of Bridesmaids, is now a bankable name in her own right, therefore the quality of her vehicles are bound to dip. However I’d much rather watch a weak film with a huge talent, then some crappy film with Adam Sandler, Kevin James or some other Hollywood idiot.
Spy isn’t a very good film, plots in out and out comedies can be two things: incredibly weak in which case the comedy covers up the cracks, or really strong in which case the audience can chew on something else whilst waiting for the next laugh. Unfortunately Spy does neither and during the gaps in laughter of which there are a few, I was left wanting. Neither was I overly pleased to see Miranda Hart, she is incredibly funny, but her schtick which we as a nation – I hope – have started to grow tired of, is turned up to 11 here, and sometimes it’s a tad cringeworthy.
But, there are very few actors as funny as Melissa McCartney and even when she is being forced to regurgitate material they have gone over in the other films, she can mostly get away with it because of her comedic charisma. Cat jokes which were excellently done in The Heat, here fall flat but there is still something inherently funny about seeing McCartney in a big cat jumper and, as the film would put it, a weird aunt wig. It’s a brave move from Feig not to have her as fast talking and foul-mouthed from the off, and it’s good to see that she can get laughs just as easily. But when the plot allows her, there is nothing quite like McCartney, who makes swearing into a glorious art form. She is a wonderful screen presence and one which I could not be put off seeing.
The other saviour of this film is Jason Statham who plays a super-spy who isn’t quite as super as he thinks he is, and has some of the funniest lines in the film. His ‘big-star’ quality lends itself well to comedy unlike the poor Jude Law who is confined to a dodgy accent and a dodgy hairline. Rose Byrne too is fantastic, and her emotionless reactions to some pretty horrific moments are priceless.
Spy might be unfairly judged by some, it isn’t good, but neither is Spy’s Like Us, or The Other Guys, I laughed pretty much all the way through too, which is much more than I can say for most Hollywood comedies nowadays. What is a shame however, is that it can’t match up to Bridesmaids or The Heat, but then not many things can.