Believe it or not, I'm still holding out hope for modern comedy. Just like horror and action, the genre of comedy has slowly been slipping for a while now. Not in terms of viewership, but in terms of quality. Unlike the western, I don't think comedies will ever stop (although to be fair, I feel westerns are starting to make a come back). It's not a genre that will likely go away any time in the future. After such disasters as Get Hard, Mortdecai, The Duff and other unfunny 2015 released garbage I deliberately didn't see, I can't say I was too eager to see Spy. I like Jude Law. I like Rose Byrne. I like Jason Statham. I occasionally like Melissa McCarthy. What could go wrong? Oh that's right. Everything can.
Paul Feig, the man who brought us Bridesmaids and The Heat, has come yet again to grace us with his presence, except this time he's made a dud. Spy follows the story of wannabe spy, Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy). Instead of going out into the field and taking down bad guys, Susan is stuck at a desk, helping out top agent, Bradley Fine (Jude Law). After he's compromised and the names of every agent are leaked out to the evil Raina Boyanov (Rose Byrne), who's attempting to sell nuclear weapons, Susan is forced to step out into the field, seeings as how she's the only one who's actually anonymous. It's up to her to save the world, I suppose. Was the world even at stake in this movie? Probably. I'm not 100% sure. It more than likely was. After all, I'd let Rose Byrne rule the world if she really wanted to. Just saying.
Spy is a two hour long string of awkwardly edited improvised lines, although I guess that's most modern comedies, isn't it? The writers are there simply to provide plot points. It's up to the actors to deliver the goods, and I presume they're all running out of jokes because every joke in this film just feels familiar. It's been done before and it's been done in funnier movies. There's a few small chuckles here and there, but other than one joke that was shown in the first trailer, nothing in this movie screams originality.
It may sound like I'm blaming the cast, but I'm not. Well, I am partially, but they try and I'm giving them recognition for that. They just fail. Melissa McCarthy essentially plays herself, which is what she does in just about every movie. She's fine and she's self aware and I'm okay with that. She's just not that entertaining in this movie. Neither is Rose Byrne, to be honest, and that's something I didn't really expect to say when I went in to see this film.
Jason Statham does his best, providing us with some of the most ridiculous spy stories you will ever hear. It's these jokes that probably work the best, but even then, they provide nothing more than a mere chuckle here and there, over half of them missing the mark. There's just no physical comedy to be found at all in this film. It's one liner after one liner after one liner and while a few work, most don't. It feels like stand up comedy more than anything.
Like Feig's previous film, The Heat, Spy can get surprisingly violent at times. I'm okay with the violence. That's not what I'm here to talk about. I'm here to talk about how insanely terrible the effects were and how obviously choreographed the fights scenes appear. The special effects in this movie, which mostly consist of slow motion blood spurts (as this film has A LOT of slow motion), look so painfully fake, the colour of blood occasionally changing colours between shots. There's a scene where a man is pushed from a building. He lands on a spike and an orange-looking blood squirts out. We cut to a side on shot and the blood is red. Even the blood in this movie is inconsistent.
If we're talking about this movie narrative-wise, rather than comedy-wise, not even that works too well. It's predictable and formulaic, following all the exact plot beats you'd expect it to. Spy is scattered with twists as well, so much so that they begin to cloud what's actually happening. The plot becomes one ginormous mess in the third act, yet it somehow manages to be predictable at the same time. I don't know. Ask somebody else. That statement both makes sense and doesn't make sense. Deal with it.
To sum up, Spy is a bit of a lacklustre follow up to The Heat and Bridesmaids, serving as an unfunny, formulaic, predictable mess of a movie that feels more like a two hour stand up show than an actual narrative.