I didn’t expect much from Spy, but it’s kind of one of the funniest films I’ve seen and, of the countless espionage spoofs out there, one of the most effective and witty efforts that sends up aspects of the Bond franchise and others in high style. It’s also a great starring role for Melissa McCarthy because for the first time since her absolutely wild career has taken off I got the sense that we were able to laugh ‘with’ her instead of laugh ‘at’ her, which is nice because she seems like kind of a sweetheart. This is also due to the fact that her reasonably competent agency analyst is perpetually surrounded by coworkers and enemies alike who, to quote a character from another spy spoof, are all ‘fricken idiots.’ She’s a low level desk jockey who serves as the techie eyes and eyes for Jude Law’s slick debonair super-spy who is a seemingly worldly but ultimately vacuous fellow. He manages to get himself in deep shit overseas and the agency’s impossibly jaded Director (Allison Janney, funny af) sends McCarthy and spectacularly klutzy coworker Miranda Hart on a globetrotting mission to find him and take down international arms smuggler Rose Byrne and her band of thugs. They’re also followed by Jason Statham as a rival agent who might actually be one of the dumbest people on planet earth and provides much of the film’s relentless, pulverizing and inspired humour. McCarthy is terrific here and initially has the hallmarks of the aloof caricature we’re used to seeing from her but by the end of her arc she’s earned her stripes and we believe she really has run this gauntlet for real and that the most unassuming character in our spy flick can make it as a field agent. Byrne is sultry, slick and unreasonably sexy as the bratty, moody villainess supreme and finds the right notes of menace, petulance and exasperation when she, like McCarthy, must stare down utter ineptitude in her own ranks. Statham sends up his own British tough guy image and is more around to be this agency court jester of thick-brained fuckery than serve any plot function, he’s a walking disaster and is loving every second of it. There’s also welcome appearances from Richard Brake, Bobby Cannavale, Morena Baccarin, 50 Cent and more. British comedian Peter Serafinowicz nearly walks off with the film as an agency contact in Europe that they have to babysit, he’s basically this hyperactive, incredibly pervy Italian weirdo who’s constantly trying to fuck, grope and sweet talk anything that moves and can barely be understood underneath his marinara soaked accent, it’s an acting creation that has to be seen to be believed. I had a lot of fun with this film when I didn’t expect much overall, but there’s a lot more going on than the glossy veneer of the marketing campaign might suggest. It’s a satire that understands every facet of the genre it’s trying to make fun of, feels at home in its tone and setting and provides this wonderfully written, crisply costumed, fast paced playground for all the actors to have some self aware, manic fun in. Great film.