Spy (2015)

(Video on Demand, October 2015)  By now, the Bond spy film formula has been spoofed, lampooned and deconstructed so often (even within the Bond series) that Bond-parodies have become a sub-genre in themselves.  Spy arrives in this crowded field with a few advantages: Melissa McCarthy may have a divisive comic persona, but she’s absolutely shameless in getting whatever laughs she can, and when you have the production budged to get both Jude Law and Jason Statham as comic foils, it’s already a step up from the usual B-grade effort.  So it is that director Paul Feig tries his damnedest to deliver a polished Bond parody, and does score a good number of laughs along the way.  His action scenes may not be as good as they could be (although there is a pretty good kitchen fight late in the film) but Spy does have a reasonable veneer of big-budget polish.  McCarthy isn’t entirely annoying as a CIA desk agent compelled to become a field operative, but Jason Statham steals the show as an insane and ineffective parody of the kind of action hero he often plays.  (Rose Byrne and ‎Peter Serafinowicz also shine in smaller roles.)  Otherwise, Spy gets a lot of mileage out of combining puerile humor with its spy subject matter, although the deconstruction/reconstruction mechanism is very familiar by now.  It does feel a bit long (something that probably wasn’t helped by seeing the slightly-longer and more digressive “unrated version”) but there is a decent amount of plot to go with the improvised jokes.  While Spy doesn’t break as much tradition as it thinks it does, it remains a decent comedy, a fair showcase for McCarthy and a step up for Feig, whose direction seems to improve slightly with every film.

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