Leon van Nierop
3 minute read
6 Jun 2015
8:00 am

Spy movie review (trailer)

Leon van Nierop

Four stars for a Melissa McCarthy comedy? Are you even reviewing the correct film, let alone giving it the rating it deserves? Oh yes, absolutely.

GIRL POWER. A desk-bound CIA analyst tries to prevent a diabolic disaster. Pictures: Nu Metro

Often reviewers would never dream of giving a satire with such dark undertones and slapstick jokes anything above two stars. I mean, a critic has to maintain his standards and still retain a good image in the eyes of his colleagues, not so?

But forget all those self-made rules. This comedy is so hilarious, so forcibly inventive as well as clever and entertaining, that to give it anything less than a four-star rating might (in my case) be sacrilege. It takes spoofs and send-ups to a new level and actually manages to be funny, satirical, clever and even melancholy at the same time. It proves that it doesn’t matter if you are traditionally built or perceived to be “fat”. You can have just as much fun as any hourglass-spirit such as Rose Byrne and still manage to enjoy life, solve the case and get your man.

The wonderfully quirky Melissa McCarthy, who has put the fun back into being overweight, plays the part of an irresistible CIA operative – almost a Jessica Fletcher with a bad mouth and a wonderfully droll bad-ass attitude. When her partner, played to perfection by Jude Law, disappears from the scene, she is forced to take over and go undercover. She previously served as his eyes and ears by keeping her eye on what happens around him. But now she can actually participate under the strict eyes of a brilliant Allison Jenney.

But it is as unlikely for this plump, exuberant auntie to solve the world’s problems as it is that our president will pay back the Nkandla money, so why still bother? Because the feisty lady is clever, she has more guts and bravery than 10 James Bonds put together, and can discredit any superficial witch who tries to humiliate her.

The film is extremely clever. It sets up Jude Law and Jason Statham as the heroes and you expect her to be their masculine majesty’s sidekicks. But in fact she is the heroine who saves the day and doesn’t need them at all. Just witness how the guys mess up the cases they are involved in. This is where Susan (McCarthy) steps in. With a good-hearted spirit, sweeping courage and a serious sense of self-effacing humour, she manages to win the day.

The acting of everybody concerned, especially the unselfconscious McCarthy, is top class. The script has some wonderful one-liners, but also places McCarthy in situations in which you laugh with, as well as at her and she doesn’t give a damn. She has a job to do and by Jove she will do it! She also manages to convince us she can actually pull this incredibly complicated case off.

Make no mistake: you will laugh your heads off. With its infectious humour, sharp eye for the ridiculous and clever use of humour and slapstick, this comedy will blow you right out of your boring orbit around going to work, visiting the gym and picking up the kids after school. See it!