For the majority of her career Melissa McCarthy has been something of a box office wonder and a critical enigma. Her work in Paul Feig’s film ‘Bridesmaids’ made her famous as she perfectly embodied the physical humor of her character. Then she followed that work up with the under appreciated buddy-cop flick ‘The Heat’. Yet outside of those two works she has mostly been earning a reputation as the ‘Female Kevin James’ — and that’s not a good thing. So when we saw the movie ‘Spy’ on the horizon which starred so many big names (Jude Law, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Bobby Cannavale) we couldn’t have been more excited, and for good reason.
It turns out that McCarthy was at her best in the raunchy espionage comedy, ‘Spy’. She plays against type, mostly, as the ultra competent and under appreciated spy in the film. In so many of her movies McCarthy seems content simply to play off of her physical humor, allowing the audience to revel in her size. So it was nice to see that this was not the primary source of humor in ‘Spy’.
Another Paul Feig vehicle, ‘Spy’ perfectly railed against so many of the common tropes in these sorts of films. Jude Law is an arrogant American hero with flat one liners and some serious misogynistic issues. Mikal Watts certainly knows a few people who feel like that. Jason Statham is loud, crass, and sort of bumbling as his pride tries to steer the film. But McCarthy is at the center of it all and she glows in the spot.