Since she started working for the CIA, homely and obese Agent Susan Cooper has been content to be the unseen and unheralded desk support partner of superspy Bradley Fine. In one operation gone wrong, Raina Boyanov, a ruthless international nuclear arms dealer, takes down Fine and threatens all the known CIA field agents. Knowing her anonymity is the CIA's best option, Cooper volunteers to track Boyanov down. From there, Cooper awkwardly and fumblingly goes around Europe disguised as frumpy matrons in order to stop Boyanov and her evil plots.
Melissa McCarthy totally owned this film as her own. In her previous films, her characters were very brash,loud and quite unlikeable. But here in "Spy", you immediately take a liking to her delightful Susan Cooper and you will be rooting for her for the whole film. Make no mistake, the familiar foul-mouthed McCarthy persona does make an appearance. But here, it is in line with her undercover spy duties.
Even if the marvellous physical comedy skills of Melissa McCarthy is front and center on display here, you also cannot ignore the comedic talent displayed by the other actors in the cast, many of whom are more known for dramatic roles.
Rose Byrne was so on point as the mega-snooty Raina Boyanov, so funny in her straight-faced over-the-top alpha-bitchy mode. The rich comedic rapport McCarthy and Byrne had with each other as mortal nemeses certainly buoyed the middle act. It was so surprising that this glamourous actress is not averse to physical comedy, as evidenced by Byrne's comically painful scene as her character was pinned down under two heavy-set men while her private plane was having anti-gravity issues.
My unexpected favorite in the cast is Jason Statham and his uncharacteristic portrayal of abrasive CIA Agent Rick Ford. We usually see him as the strong and silent macho hero taking up the cudgels of the oppressed in his many action films. He is still strong and macho, but whoa, Statham is definitely NOT silent here! This must be the first time I have heard him deliver lines in mile-a-minute speed as he proudly relates his many incredible career exploits. Never thought Statham could ever be funny. I really enjoyed his scenes.
Jude Law was right in his element as Bradley Fine, a suave, tuxedo-clad secret agent and charming ladykiller. Allison Janney plays Cooper's no-nonsense boss Elaine Crocker. Gangsterish Bobby Cannavale plays the glamorous terrorist De Luca. Tall and mousy-looking Miranda Hart plays Nancy, Susan's supportive friend and co-worker in their rat-infested CIA basement. Roguish-looking Peter Serafinowicz plays Aldo, Susan's overly amorous Italian backup agent. All of them stood out in their respective portrayals, helping McCarthy generate more laughs in their scenes together.
This is the third time writer-director Paul Feig is working with his favorite actress Melissa McCarthy. In "Bridesmaids" (MY REVIEW), McCarthy was funny as part of an ensemble of comediennes. In "The Heat" (MY REVIEW), she was funnier, sharing the screen with Sandra Bullock. In "Spy", McCarthy is the funniest she has ever been. 8/10.