Friday 22 May 2015

Spy ... McCarthy era

A FRUMPY desk-bound female CIA agent overcomes her female boss' worries and her male colleague's putdowns to enter the world of espionage and capture an Italian thug who wants to acquire a nuclear warhead.
    Spy is a spoof of spy films, but it turns things on its head by putting boisterous Melissa McCarthy in the lead role of agent Susan Cooper, who is renowned at the CIA for baking cakes and working with suave tuxedo-clad agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law).
   McCarthy worked with writer-director Paul Feig in The Heat and Bridesmaids, where she put her motor mouth and predilection for uttering profanities to good use. The duo are back together again in Spy, and it's her constant chatter and fighting for female empowerment that will make this film a hit.
    Feig has conceived a plot that allows a woman to make her own decisions in situations fraught with danger and bullets. The narrative also has Susan's two male agent colleagues as being either missing for most of the film, or blowing his own trumpet but unable to save his own skin when it really matters.
   When we first meet Susan, she's whispering into the earpiece of Fine as she guides him through a maze of danger when he's on assignment. Fine is competent and adorable, but he would be nothing without Susan, who secretly pines for him.
    During the next assignment in Hungary, Fine walks into a trap set by the seductive Raina (Rose Byrne), who is the only one who knows where her late father hid a nuke warhead.
    Fine is killed, but I must tell you, dear viewers, that I half expected him to return later, only because Jude Law shares the film poster with McCarthy and Jason Statham.
    Statham takes a break from his hard-man roles to play agent Rick Ford, who's always boasting about hard-to-believe exploits that have nearly killed him. Ford denigrates Susan's ability,  complaining that she will screw things up. 
   Susan's office contact is now Nancy (Miranda Hart), who laments that her last relationship was three years ago. Nancy is also inadvertently drawn into the web of deceit and killings in the search for the nuke warhead, but like Susan, they rise to the occasion.
    Spy shows female empowerment as its best, and highlights McCarthy's comedic skill and proclivity for using vulgarities.
   The film says that when the going gets tough, the tough should just depend on the women. Witness Ford's attempt to save the day at the end. Susan learns to rely on female power by snubbing Fine and choosing to hang out with a female colleague.

3 out of 5 stars


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