2015 is definitely a year in which a James Bond film is coming out. If you couldn’t tell by the trailers for Spectre playing in theaters around the country, then the multiple James Bond spoof films being released this year would also give you a major hint. First, was Kingsman: The Secret Service, which still remains one of the highlights of the year thus far. Now we have Spy from comedy director Paul Feig and his muse Melissa McCarthy (whose comedic style I normally find too crass for my liking). Spy is much more of a mixed result as a film. It’s funny in parts but then it tries too hard for laughs and fails in others. It works really well as a spoof in parts and in others it feels like more of a joke rather than a complete film.
Spy follows Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) as a deskbound but extremely smart analyst for the seemingly on the verge of self-destructing CIA. When a terrorist organization gets a hold of the CIA’s active agents list and kills one of the agency’s best (Jude Law), the CIA reluctantly sends Cooper into the field to stop the threat.
There are some really great comedic elements in this film. Jason Statham as a British agent who thinks he’s much better than he actually is, Peter Serafinowicz as an overly hands-y CIA contact that falls for Cooper and Rose Byrne as a twist on the female Bond villain all provide many laughs. Even the normally dull Melissa McCarthy provides a lot of laughs when the film finally learns that she is much funnier when she uses her mouth rather than her appearance as a source of comedy midway through the film.
Despite all of this the film still seems very uneven. It does take time for the film to reach this observation on McCarthy. Additionally, when the film pulls away from doing jokes and goes into delivering plot, it becomes boring and half-baked. This is a shame because the film gets really close to being a really good Bond satire as the visuals and most of the spy jokes are well done.
Spy is quite a mixed bag of a film. It has a goal of being a spoof on spy films, and ultimately doesn’t completely achieve that goal. However, there are enough good performances and visuals to make this a decent sit through.