Film review: Melissa McCarthy is hampered by her co-stars in Spy

Melissa McCarthy not taking any prisoners in Spy
Cert 15 | ★★☆☆☆
Bounteous as Melissa McCarthy’s comedic gifts no doubt are, do they justify a resuscitation of the spy-spoof genre? In a word: no. In Spy she plays a desk-bound CIA operative working in partnership with field agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) with whom she is not-so-secretly in love. Despite finishing top of her class, her boss (Alison Janney) doubts she has the mettle for undercover work. She gets her chance when Fine falls foul of a glamourous Bulgarian villainess (Rose Byrne – a highlight) and the other agent working on the case, Rick Ford (Jason Statham), goes rogue.
McCarthy gives her all but she’s hampered by a coterie of comedically incompetent co-stars. Statham shouts every line in an unimaginative self-satire of his tough guy image. Law is unctuous as ever. Miranda Hart is by far the worst, though. It’s difficult to think of a brand of comedy less suited to the big screen than her gangly, self-deprecating schtick. Every time something funny threatens to happen she pops up to suck all traces of humour out of the scene.
McCarthy and writer-director Paul Feig worked well together on Bridesmaids but Spy is the kind of duff comedy that not only signals decline but also invites revisionism: maybe Bridesmaids wasn’t that good in the first place?

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