Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Spying Is Easier And Harder Than It Looks

So last week I bought Deadpool on DVD, which I'd been waiting on for months. I also bought Spy, because I'd heard good things.

Melissa McCarthy works in the CIA basement as Susan Cooper, analyst/support tech for Jude Law's super-spy character, Agent Fine. Until Law is killed by the daughter of an arms dealer who has inherited that stolen nuke her father had. She claims to know who all the CIA's best agents are, so they send McCarthy (since no one would know her) to try and track just the potential middleman. But Cooper proves to be an intrepid, if inexperienced and uncertain, agent, and follows the trail, eventually sort-of befriending Rayna while posing as a bodyguard.

I enjoyed the film more once McCarthy was able to actually get in the field. The humor came from the strange situations she found herself in, and her solutions to them. She's very adept, just unorthodox. The early part of the movie, where her lack of self-confidence results in a lot of self-deprecating comments. That was part was painful to watch, because I felt so bad for her. But McCarthy plays it well, because Cooper is aware of what she's doing to herself, and it frustrates her, but it isn't so easy to just stop. But the longer the film goes, the more you can see Cooper growing in confidence, especially around Rayna. She's stops taking Rayna's crap with a smile, and gives it right back. Oddly, I think Rayan (played by Rose Byrne) actually likes Susan for that, but can't express it other than being a condescending ass.

Jason Statham's a real high point in the film, playing Rick Ford, a largely incompetent agent who insists on trying to make Cooper feel incapable by regaling her with all the ridiculous things he's survived. Like ingesting 176 poisons as once as part of an undercover role in a poison-ingesting ring. Cooper's reactions are a nice mirror for the viewer's. The first time around, she's horrified and agog. The second time, more incredulous and starting to get angry. By the third time, she's completely done with his crap and calling him on it. Which is fair. If he were a better agent, he wouldn't have to survive such things. At any rate, Statham sells it well by seeming to buy into the role entirely. It doesn't surprise me, he's always shown the capacity to put a little humor in his action roles, that twinkle in the eye that says he's enjoying himself. I wouldn't mind seeing him do more comedy roles, though I'd settle for him just doing better movies.

Also, I really liked Allison Janney as the CIA Director. She's pretty no-nonsense, but despite claiming to have no sense of humor, she gets some jabs in with her deadpan delivery. In contrast, the character of Aldo (played by Peter Serafinowicz), was a bit much. I can't decide if he's a stereotype of Italian men, or of the James Bond super spy who beds a different woman every time you turn around. I guess if they wanted to highlight that type of characters' attitude as being kind of creepy, mission accomplished.

I was left wondering why there are so many British agents in the CIA. We're outsourcing even there now? Given they've been wasting Susan in the basement instead of the field, they clearly have a lousy personnel department.


SallyP said...

British spies are just... suave, darn it!

CalvinPitt said...

I suppose, but presumably Americans can learn that, with a little effort. Or fake it till they make it, which seems like a necessary cpy trait.