Spy (2015) [Review]

XCV3_R5/10

Spy pitches itself as a parody of all the male-centric spy movies we have seen over the many many years. From the opening credits with the silhouettes and big opening song, you instantly think that Spy isn’t going to do things by halves. You have you typical British/American Spy played by Jude Law, a man more certain of his capabilities as a spy than he is of his accent. But as the saying goes, “behind all great men there is a woman“, and in this case it’s Melissa McCarthy, an equally qualified spy who has been forced to carry out basement based communications to those out in the field taking all the glory.

An incident leads McCarthy’s character to head out into the field, and to the films credit, rather than play on predictable ‘hilarious’ consequences based on her actual physical appearance and that she’s a woman, it turns out that she’s a bad-ass. There are a few tweaks to be made, but fundamentally she has all the capabilities to be a successful spy, and it takes everyone by surprise.

I would not have minded if it continued on that path. However, Spy became caught in two minds between being a spy movie and a comedy, and we ended up with a bland version of both. The script slowly gets more sweary, because hearing fucking swear words every fucking word is fucking funny apparently. Throw in a few poo/haemorrhoid jokes based around the gadgets and their disguises, a vomit gag, a few titgrabs and some slapstick and you have the level of humour this film strived for. It’s middle of the road, inoffensive, parents trying to be funny on Facebook type of humour. The kind of person who posts memes of Minions on Facebook/Instagram with irrelevant comedy quotes next to them – this is the person I have in mind who would find this funny.

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It seemed a waste, because the cast (apart from Miranda) are actually all funny in their own right, and have evidenced it in other films/TV (except Miranda). Statham shone as a parody of himself, Jude Law plays on his obnoxiousness excellently, Rose Byrne was a hideous human-being and funnier for it, and McCarthy is brilliant as the determined rookie, defying expectations at every turn. All good in theory, and in small portions they had their moments. The primary problem of all of this was the script – a distinct lack of direction, and a consistent lack of good jokes!

I don’t see the need to make a film this stupid, when it could have been really subtle and clever. Why give a character to someone if you’re going to undermine it with something a child would direct. It could have been a great play on the Bond series with a woman in the lead, removing the nonsense of Austin Powers and making something that dared to be on the same level as Naked Gun. Instead it just seemed infantile and dull, with this constant need to create awkwardness when it wasn’t needed. Forced cringeworthy humour doesn’t work – no matter how much you talk out of the side of your mouth, and say “errrrhhhh” before you speak (see the dinner scene with Jude Law), it doesn’t make it awkward. It felt like I was watching a shit Inbetweeners sketch reenacted by people who had never told a joke before.

This film for me, just wasn’t funny. I really wanted to like it, I understand why some people would like it and I’m sorry to those that do – I liked the cast and admittedly there were moments that got me. Unfortunately, in my eyes this is no better than a ‘bro’ comedy where the humour is poorly structured, juvenile and idiotic. At 2 hours running time, there were simply not enough good quality jokes/references to keep my interest, and while it took it’s sweet time to merge into an action film, those sequences were messy and tedious too.

I hold out hope that eventually we will be dealt a good comedy film in the mainstream. That we aren’t shoehorned into these categories where men are seen to enjoy movies full of dick jokes, sex and shitting, and women apparently like movies full of jokes about tits, men and swearing. If Spy had parodied the genre rather than try so overly hard to pander to the perceieved gender expectations, then the parody of the male spy would have happened effortlessly. In the end, I didn’t know what it was – and I don’t think it did either.

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9 responses to “Spy (2015) [Review]

  1. Oh that’s a shame. I really enjoyed it. I thought the script was great and there were enough gags to keep the pace rolling. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again to be honest. I think the first time around I was really in the mood and the audience was packed and loved it. That always helps!!

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    • The cinema wasn’t that busy for it when I went, and I didn’t really find that it swayed my opinion on it. As I’ve said in one of my other comments – I just feel like it was a missed opportunity.

      I get why some people would like it. It’s very inoffensive, they’ve crammed a load of jokes into it along the way and Melissa McCarthy is a very likable actress. The problem I have is with the genre they chose, and that it really could have been something great. Instead it was something that in my opinion was distinctly average.

      Cheers for the comment though – always good to engage in a difference of opinions!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t apologise on behalf of the film – nothing you can do! I just felt like it was a missed opportunity, and that there is this notion that humour is divided by gender. They always follow the same path and it’s so predictable – I wouldn’t watch Spy 2 if someone paid me though. I don’t want a play by play parody of a bond film, but something to separate it from that generic sweary type of nonsense.

      I am intrigued by Kingsman though. Might give it a whirl this week.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You haven’t seen Kingsman??!! #slaponthewristforyou!! hahahahaa I truly loved it and I called Taron Egerton breakout star of 2015. Him & Colin are that good. I did enjoy Spy – and my only beef was I wanted more Statham .. In a way it was a strong Woman movie also..and I found fun in all that. 🙂 Read my reviews on both and tell me what you think..I don’t give away spoilers so you can still safely see Kingsman – which is in my top 5 of this year so far. And yes, I know there is many more to come.. 🙂

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      • It has been considered to be a strong female empowering movie, and yet there is an idiot like Miranda cast playing into all the stereotypes of someone who is largely incapable of doing anything in what is considered to be a ‘mans world’? It undermined that entire message in my opinion. There were enough idiots in the film without the need for another one.

        Speaking of idiots, it does bring us nicely to Statham, who was probably the best bit of the entire film! Incredible parody of himself. I’d love to see the outtakes from when he is reeling off all the different scenarios he’s survived.

        We might have to agree to disagree on this one, but watch this space as you’ve won me over to watch Kingsman!

        *pops off to check out your reviews*

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