Spy

 

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An overblown spy spoof whose smaller moments are the funniest.

 

Spy
Little and large: Melissa McCarthy (with Miranda Hart)

 

As a James Bond spoof with a fat lady, Spy starts well enough. But the writer-director Paul Feig, whose last two movies, Bridesmaids and The Heat, grossed a combined total of $518 million, wants to give us so much more. So, once the portly, desk-bound CIA analyst Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy, from Bridesmaids and The Heat) is forced to go undercover in Europe (in order to save New York from total annihilation), Feig continues to over-egg the pudding. There are so many running gags – such as Jason Statham as an inept but ludicrously boastful secret agent (think Vin Diesel as Johnny English) – that the comedy becomes congested and in awe of its own comic ambition.

 

While there are a lot of laughs for one’s buck, the combination of crassness, obscenity and bloodlust soon loses its effectiveness. And once Miranda Hart has teamed up with McCarthy to do battle on the streets of Budapest, the film doesn’t so much feel like a warmed-up variation of The Heat (which starred McCarthy and Sandra Bullock as two cops in the field) as an over-extended French and Saunders sketch. But even as the plot spirals into ever increasing Cirque du Soleil, there are enough throwaway jokes to keep one engaged and chuckling.

 

Jude Law is good value as an American version of James Bond, while McCarthy herself retains her comic integrity even though her agent’s arsenal of lethal weapons are disguised as haemorrhoid wipes and laxative pills. Best of all, though, is probably Rose Byrne as the villainess, an Australian actress (from Bridesmaids) playing a supercilious, foul-mouthed Bulgarian arms dealer with a fake English accent.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, Peter Serafinowicz, Morena Baccarin, 50 Cent, Michael McDonald, Ben Falcone.

 

Dir Paul Feig, Pro Peter Chernin, Paul Feig, Jessie Henderson and Jenno Topping, Screenplay Paul Feig, Ph Robert Yeoman, Pro Des Jefferson Sage, Ed Brent White and Melissa Bretherton, Music Theodore Shapiro, Costumes Christine Bieselin Clark.

 

Chernin Entertainment/Feigco Entertainment/TSG Entertainment-20th Century Fox.

119 mins. USA. 2015. Rel: 5 June 2015. Cert. 15.