Spy is a winning combination of sometimes violent, over the top action and situational gags.

In concept and on paper, Spy sounds like a disaster. Take the tired, overdone genre of secret agents, turn it into a profane comedy and give it a female spin. Ha ha. But it works not only because of Melissa Mccarthy’s ability to be perfectly comical (she is let loose here) while still commanding our viewership but also because of the great ensemble cast who collectively deliver a laugh marathon of genuinely funny situations.

Being one of the few who didn’t enjoy director Paul Feig’s and leading lady McCarthy’s breakthrough hit Bridesmaid, I walked into Spy being both skeptical and dismissive of the concept. I mean, just think about the setup and how easily lowbrow it seems – plus size CIA desk agent Susan Cooper is given a crack at being on an actual field assignment and track down a terrorist trying to sell a nuclear weapon to wanted criminals. However once the film kicks into gear – with a winning combination of sometimes violent, over the top action (ala 21 Jump Street) and situational gags – it sets itself up for an enjoyable ride through European locales and a confident McCarthy who it seems is just allowed to be herself and deliver her manic lines and insults with gleeful abandon.

As good as she is though, the film really shines when she shares screen time with Rose Byrne’s rich bitch baddie and Jason Statham’s wildly innocuous, incompetently clueless rogue agent. I think this is the first time that I’ve seen Statham not play the same character he does in all his films. Sure, he’s macho and chauvinistic here as well but his idiotic, egoist character (imagine a modern day Inspector Jacques Clouseau) and monologues about his near brushes with death are alone worth the price of admission. So good is he that he nearly upstages everyone else and I’d pay to see him in a spin-off adventure. Feig is only really let down by the delicate juggling of the wicked humour with fast paced action and his inexperience with the latter clearly shows. Still, he seems to be polishing his craft and in McCarthy has found a perfect muse.

Rating: ★★★★☆

About Faizan Rashid

A veteran Dubai based film critic, Faizan has been reviewing movies for nearly a decade. His work has been published in local newspapers such as 7days and on prestigious online websites such as MSN Arabia and wearethemovies.com