Ever since its release, I’ve used Bridesmaids as the standard for a comedy movie that can truly make me laugh. Anyone who knows me will know that it’s my favourite comedy in recent years. To hear that Spy, a movie directed by the same director, Paul Feig – who also wrote it, was potentially funnier than Bridesmaids was all I needed to hear to garner my interest.
Spy stars Melissa McCarthy who plays Susan Cooper, a CIA agent whose job it is to guide her partner Bradley Fine (Jude Law) through dangerous field operations fighting terrorist organizations. When a situation arises that causes Cooper to enter the field as a spy herself for the first time, she finds herself face-to-face with the primary target, Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) – the only person with knowledge of where the nuclear weapon is being hidden.
Spy is sharp in its delivery that employs a lot of deadpan and to-the-point lines from Byrne and Allison Janney, who plays Susan’s boss Elaine Crocker. While McCarthy doesn’t venture terribly far from the roles she played in Bridesmaids and her other Feig-directed film, The Heat, there’s something deeper this time around. It’s not McCarthy who is stuck playing a sad pathetic role but rather her character who gets stuck going undercover as a woman owning 10 cats who probably “never felt the touch of a man.”
While Spy is the first comedy that McCarthy truly carries on her own, the supporting cast take it beyond. Byrne, Janney, Miranda Hart as Nancy, Susan’s obliviously goofy friend and colleague, and Jason Statham as the eccentric Rick Ford, capture the focus off of the whatever the story is, which, at this point barely matters, and onto what they’ll say or do next. Every scene with McCarthy and Byrne together is gold.
I had my doubts Spy could touch the untouchable Bridesmaids, no matter how positive the reviews were. After all, it’s a comedy about a spy. A premise so kitschy with little to work with other than to parody spy action films. But I haven’t laughed this much and this hard in a theatre since Bridesmaids. Even with several moments that borderline on cheesy or unnecessary, at the very least right now the comedy standard has been matched and the two are tied.