It’s not often that one walks out of a cinema, after watching a comedy, without a sense of feeling hard done by. You pay the money, expect the laughs, and more often than not the film’s best moments are the moments you’ve already made a positive acknowledgement with in the trailer.
For the first fifty minutes of Spy, I had that exact feeling.
At its core, a film that’s designed to mock a specific genre is very hard to critique. One can criticise the storyline, the characters, the sets, the dialogue, but in doing so you would only be reinforcing the purpose of such a film.
For the first ten minutes of Spy, one would not find it out of the question to believe it’s the latest instalment of the James Bond series. A first scene at an exotic Villa on the banks of a large lake somewhere in Europe, with a single CIA agent running show on an entire cast of WWE sized bad guys who seem to miss every shot despite holding machine guns.
If that’s not enough, the cheesy one-liners, the gadgets, fight scenes and explosions give us all the makings of a Bond classic.
Then you’re hit with the opening credits, which are almost a complete carbon copy of the intro to Casino Royale. A colourful array of silhouettes transforming on the screen with an Alicia Keys style theme song setting the mood.
My mouth opened for a yawn with the word “predictable” running through my head.
Then enter Melissa McCarthy.
Without McCarthy, this film would be an absolute miss. Her comedic performance is outstanding, giving one of the performances of her career.
The first fifty minutes, as mentioned, does provide little in way of “non-forced laughs” but all in all it sets the tone for McCarthy to explode in the second half with cracking one liners, hilarious comebacks and even laugh-out-loud fight scenes.
Sometimes the humour comes across as forced, but you can’t expect anything less from a parody. McCarthy plays her personality perfectly and her own original humour is definitely woven into the script.
My only big criticism came about thirty seconds into the film when Jude Law opened his mouth for the first time.
Now, you cannot have a spy film without Jude Law. He has come to embody the suave, intelligent and elegant special agent character that is so hard to come by with other actors, and who could resist that mesmerising British accent…
Well… spoiler alert, Law puts on the American accent in this one and it is utterly atrocious. Not only is it a terrible accent, it does not suit Jude Law in the slightest.
I had pushed that criticism to one side believing that the film maker couldn’t really have a CIA agent with a British accent because, well, the Americans just don’t do things like that. But then, ten minutes later, on comes Jason Statham, in classic Jason Statham style wearing a turtle neck and swearing his head off, with, you guessed it, a full blown British accent!
This inconsistency left me utterly disappointed.
Perhaps I was just stuck wanting the Sherlock Holmes Jude Law that I had grown to love, but something just didn’t feel right.
Other than that, and the obligatory inclusion of 50 Cent halfway through the film, it delivered with the comedy.
Its not an instant classic, and it certainly didn’t have me on the floor, but it was enough to let me walk out happy.