Comedy films are difficult to get right, since tone is so important to their lasting success and it is hard to maintain it consistently, but director Paul Feig has recently emerged as someone widely regarded as being able to do just that, with ‘Bridesmaids’ widely regarded as being a resounding success and ‘The Heat’ also doing well. One mainstay of these films is Melissa McCarthy whose comic gravitas is now well known, and with Jason Statham willing to parody his hard-man persona ‘Spy’ looked a lot like it would be another success for the Feig-McCarthy team.
Sadly, it isn’t. McCarthy is as reliable as ever and Statham does indeed give a career best performance full of a self-awareness that it is refreshing to see in him. Unfortunately though ‘Spy’ suffers from an endemic lack of sufficient laughter, instead relying on caricatures and rehashed jokes too often to allow its funnier moments to come through. Rose Byrne’s character is a particular culprit. Bratty but apparently top of her class at Oxford, she’s more grating than amusing and her interactions with other characters are wholly uninteresting. The film suffers from this too often, Peter Serafinowicz also making a totally unfunny appearance as an inappropriate Italian man who pesters McCarthy’s character endlessly and doesn’t utter any funny lines while he’s on screen.
Sadly ‘Spy’ does not have enough ingenuity to get over its weak points and come out at the end as a worthwhile film, which is a shame since it promised so much as an intelligent spy spoof. The chortles aren’t enough to get you through the runtime, and at times it’s just too annoying to keep you interested.
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