Spy Movie -|- MOVIE REVIEW

STORY: A CIA agent who has a boring job gets the chance of a lifetime to escape her backroom drudgery and get some real action. She volunteers to go undercover and help bust some dirty deeds done by a shady arms dealer (Rawi) who wants to sell a nuke to terrorists.

REVIEW: Every once in a while, there comes along a spy movie that straddles the line between not taking itself too seriously and not floundering in a soup of slapstick send-ups. Spy, with its female protagonist who looks and behaves like anything but a spy (seriously!) not only carries a feminist torch in terms of attitude, but is also aided by the kind of invective-laden vocabulary that would make a sailor blush.

Susan Cooper (McCarthy, brilliant) languishes in the doldrums as far as her career is concerned. This has taken a heavy toll on her self-esteem. Making a strong visual metaphor to support this is the fact that she is consigned to the rat and bat-infested basement of the CIA’s Langley HQ. Her role is to support the dashing agent Bradley Fine (Law, on point) in his various espionage activities. He is the CIA’s rockstar and Cooper has a huge crush on him. She hopes that he’ll see her as more than just a coworker.

Things get out of control when Fine’s mission (to trace said nuclear device) is compromised and his MI6 counterpart Rick Ford’s (Statham, rip-roaringly hilarious) cover is also blown. Therefore Susan, who none of the bad guys will suspect, insists that she be sent to Paris to shadow the daughter of the arms dealer, Rayna (Byrne) who has now found a buyer for the warhead, the smarmy Italian playboy Sergio (Cannavale).

Feig manages to pay homage to the spy genre as well make Spy mercilessly take the mickey out of the genre. Cooler still are the gender inversions. Three of the strongest characters – Susan, Rayna and Cooper’s CIA boss Elaine (Janney) – are female. Fakhri is adequate.

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