Tuesday, 2 June 2015

REVIEW - SPY (PAUL FEIG)


A bubbly, bristling comedy from an assemblage of artists who know precisely what they're doing. This isn't their comfort zone, it's their creative zone, and it's a healthy combination of intelligence and enthusiasm that makes Spy the joyously silly work of art that it is. The key to Paul Feig's films is that it's the women who are most in their element, and he rightfully hands his works over to them, demonstrating equal respect and affection for his ladies by stepping clean out of their way. The smartest and the silliest characters in this film (which is itself both of those qualities) belong to the girls, and they respond with spirited comedic performances. Feig and his actors find ineffable humour at the most mundane, throwaway of opportunities, complimenting the grander set-piece jokes with subtle sight-gags and one-liners that you won't see coming, and you won't forget. The only significant problem in the wake of such comic genius is what happens when those jokes dry up - alas, this isn't Monty Python, so you can be sure that they do, and Feig doesn't seem to know how to stage a moment that isn't punctuated by a punchline of some sort. The more that lead Melissa McCarthy's performance is kept in check, the funnier she is allowed to become, but one suspects either that she's been reined in too much at times here, or perhaps just that Spy is a little unfinished, a tad rough around the edges, if endearingly so. And it's the comedy that makes the film so very endearing, expertly handled by writers and actors alike.