RSS

Tag Archives: spy

Movie Breakdown: Spy (Noah)

June 4, 2015

1 Comment

People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids is a great movie. Melissa McCarthy can be a great actor. Paul Feig’s The Heat was a slow, boring film that I actually paid for and then turned off (and if there’s money involved I’ll sit through Sex and the City 2 on repeat). Melissa McCarthy has become a sort of caricature of herself – a big, slovenly, overly loud character shuttled from one film to the next, always a little bit grosser than before. So, uh, I’m torn. I’m a film critic though, so I’m going to guess this film will suck.

The Reality:

Let’s all give a big round applause (yes, even the skinny-jeaned hipster kid in the back) for Paul Feig and Melissa McCarthy for putting Fat + Unattractive Melissa to bed. She was tired, and everybody was sick of her, and it was just time to pull the covers up tight around her little neck and let her drift off to sleep-sleep time. And lucky for us, because Paul Feig is a good director (maybe even a good man) and he’s done a smart, funny, occasionally boring film about a repressed basic lady (Melissa McCarthy) who has to step up her game and become an ass-kicking spy. There’s a lot of plot here, a lot of characters, a lot of things that happen, but what you need to pull away from this review is that this is, handily, the best role Melissa McCarthy has ever been had. As if her and Paul Feig sat in a room one day, a little tipsy off Campari Sodas, and hatched this beautiful plan to kill off a character that was drowning McCarthy’s career. And how does one do that? They make fun of it, a whole fucking bunch, while giving McCarthy an honest-to-goodness role as a very normal woman with, and don’t get too excited here, a character arc that involves more than her shitting herself in a sink or tackling someone. That role is Susan Cooper, a desk-jockey for the CIA who’s thrust into the field when her charming (and borderline special needs) spy-guy (Jude Law with a suspicious American accent) is murdered. Instead of just making McCarthy a rote retread of her moronic, food-obsessed character from every other film, Feig makes her a competent (if not badass) woman who’s just too scared to get out there and do something spectacular. It takes the death of a loved one (like in the best of action movies) to force her out, but when she does, the results are fantastic. Along the way Susan Cooper (and McCarthy) is forced to take these spy-identities that recall McCarthy’s past Hollywood life – a cat lady, an Avon salesman, etc. – and it’s a joy to watch her buck against the type-casting. This a well cast film with Rose Byrne and Jason Statham both firing on all cylinders. Feig doesn’t hesitate to make this an actual spy film with a comedic bent, and some of the fight scenes (the knife v. pan one especially) are, well, pretty fucking awesome. Like all of these improv-heavy films it gets caught up in its own jokes sometimes and the narrative slows and you start to realize that maybe you don’t really care that much, but then McCarthy swoops on to the screen harassing a Swedish bodyguard about how much of a bitch he is and you realize, well, it doesn’t really matter how good the film is, this is McCarthy’s rebirth, and if she’s good, well, I’m in.

The Lesson:

Seriously, cast Michelle Janning in everything. EVERYTHING.

Continue reading...

Movie Breakdown: Spy

June 3, 2015

0 Comments

People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Paul Feig’s latest comedy turns Melissa McCarthy into an unlikely CIA spy.

The Reality:

I’ll give it up to Paul Feig, instead of trying to go with just one of Melissa McCarthy’s styles – normal (St. Vincent) or loud (Tammy, Identity Thief) – he went with both.  Does that make Spy a good movie?  Sort of.  It’s definitely not bad, more just decidedly average.  The film has some bits that totally work – Jason Statham’s insane rogue agent character, a running joke about the CIA being full of literal vermin, an actual “dirty” agent who is always saying/doing perverted things – and it does fully allow McCarthy free range to do as she pleases, but there are a lot of flat moments that had me wondering where we were in the runtime.  Also, the twist is so telegraphed that it hurt my soul.  I know the general point is to watch McCarthy and the gang spoof spy movies so an elaborate plot just isn’t needed, but Feig doesn’t even try to hide what’s going on.  If you ask me, a good reveal would have made some of the parts in the film that don’t work feel kind of justified.

All in all Spy is fairly comparable to Feig’s last film, The Heat.  Some of it is great, some of it isn’t, and what you end up with is an alright experience that you’ll probably instantly forget.  Then in a year it’ll be on HBO every day and after watching it 22 times, you’ll think it’s pretty funny.  Circle of life, man.

The Lesson:

The world needs a whole movie based on Jason Statham’s ridiculous character from Spy.

Continue reading...