Spy represent the latest collaboration between director Paul Feig and star Melissa McCarthy, but the first that Feig also scripted. The story revolves around Susan Cooper (McCarthy), a desk-bound CIA analyst who has long dreamed of getting to work in the field. Susan unexpectedly gets her shot when the identity of the agency's top operative (Jason Statham) is compromised - and Susan convinces her boss (Allison Janney) to let her take his place, on a dangerous mission to stop a megalomaniacal arms dealer (Rose Byrne).
Feig and McCarthy will soon reunite a fourth time for the Ghostbusters reboot - due to arrive in Summer 2016. However, Spy is the first of their projects together where McCarthy is the sole lead; she was a supporting player in Bridesmaids and shared lead duties with Sandra Bullock in The Heat. The latest trailer for Spy (watch it above) is arguably the funniest preview yet for the film, but perhaps even more encouraging are the positive reviews the movie's earned to date.
20th Century Fox debuted Spy at the 2015 South by Southwest (SXSW) festival earlier this month, well ahead of the action/comedy's theatrical bow. That alone suggests the studio is confident about their product (no reason to show it off that early otherwise), but the first waves of reviews also support this claim - and suggest that McCarthy hits it out of the park, during her first time as sole protagonist in a Feig-directed movie.
Here are some examples of what critics are saying about Spy, thus far:
THR - Melissa McCarthy comes into her own as a comic star in Spy... Lampooning the alpha-male conventions of the secret agent flick while transferring some of that badassery to an unlikely character, writer-director Paul Feig remains one of the best friends women in comedy have, managing to get yuks from fat-lady jokes while mocking a world that treats such women like they're invisible. Laugh-stuffed and making excellent use of its marquee-grade supporting cast, it promises to be a home run in its early summer release.
Variety - If recent misfires like “Tammy” and “Identity Thief” have proved anything, it’s that Melissa McCarthy is virtually indestructible, retaining her comic buoyancy, her tremendous likability and much of her fan base even when stuck with bargain-basement material. All of which makes it even more gratifying to see what she can do with a vehicle that’s firing on all cylinders for a change. ['Spy' is] an uproarious blast of globe-trotting action-comedy delirium that doesn’t spoof the espionage-thriller genre so much as drop a series of banana peels in its path...
The Wrap - Freed from the PG-13 shackles of most straightforward spy movies, “Spy” actually offers up more blood and vivid violence than the genre it’s tweaking, but never enough to get in the way of the comedy. If anything, the occasional mayhem reminds us of the danger Susan’s putting herself in while also underscoring how cartoony many contemporary espionage dramas have become... Add to that this extraordinary ensemble of actors (who knew Jason Statham could be this funny?), and you’ve got another memorable offering from McCarthy and Feig. Underestimate them at your peril.
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There will no doubt be naysayers weighing in down the line, but right now Spy is sitting at a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes (with twelve reviews so far). The movie represents the next step in not just McCarthy's evolution as a comedy mega-star, but also Feig's directorial capabilities - seeing as the spy action/comedy is shaping up to be the filmmaker's most cinematic (read: technically sophisticated) project to date. So again, it's good to hear that critics are digging the film thus far.
And really, why shouldn't they be? McCarthy excels at performances both comical and dramatic (see: St. Vincent), even when the film around her is overall pretty subpar. Similarly, the supporting cast - like frequent scene-stealer Janney and Byrne (who got to properly show off her comedic chops with Neighbors last year) - is quite talented, while it sounds as though Statham and Jude Law have fun riffing on their badass and handsome gent screen personas, respectively. Count us sufficiently excited to see Spy on the big screen.
Spy opens in U.S. theaters on June 5th, 2015.
Source: 20th Century Fox