Spy

June 28, 2015 at 7:22 pm | Posted in 2015 | Leave a comment
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◊ ◊ ½

So, this is my first Melissa McCarthy experience. I don’t watch her show and have not seen any of her other movies. I was planning on making her my new Sandra Bullock (before “Gravity,” I had only ever seen her in “Speed”). However, I was drawn by the 95% on Rotten Tomatoes and decided to give her a try. I was not completely disappointed. As many have stated, McCarthy is a natural physical actress with a great gift for pratfalls, slapstick and a beautiful range of facial expressions. In addition, she has a unique skill for looking wide-eyed and innocent while simultaneously being aggressive and shockingly vulgar. This style of humor was on full display here and mostly to positive effect. The film started slowly and took a while to build any momentum. Most of the cast of A-list actors (including Jude Law, Allison Janney, Jason Statham and Bobby Cannavale) play utterly one-dimensional and largely unfunny characters. It is not until McCarthy’s character meet’s Rayna, played by Rose Byrne, that the film actually finds its groove. While both McCarthy and Byrne are reasonably funny by themselves, they are laugh-out-loud funny when interacting with each other. Those scenes, and there are a fair number of them, lift the film into something more than the formulaic mess it would have otherwise been. The plot, action scenes and so many of the film’s conceits are ridiculous but one can allow for that in what is essentially a caper comedy. All that is required is that it entertains and, for large chunks of the film, is does that quite well. I’m not sure how much of these type of characters I could put up with or how many times I would find it funny and I hope McCarthy has a broader range than the crass slapstick required here (I know Byrne does). That said, they did exactly what was required and did it better than I can imagine many actors doing. Often this film doesn’t work (as in the needless 50 Cent cameo) but, when it does, it is entirely because of the McCarthy-Byrne chemistry.

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