Film Review: Spy

Spy

Paul Feig’s Spy is an entertaining action comedy which works better than the premise might suggest.

Susan Cooper is a desk-bound CIA agent who provides great support to her colleagues. When the CIA need a new face to go undercover, Susan volunteers, plunging herself into a world of danger as she tries to infiltrate the inner circle of an arms dealer…

Writer-director Paul Feig teams up with star Melissa McCarthy once again in this action comedy. Spy takes obvious cues from the James Bond franchise, most of this is worked to humorous effect. However, the film is not so much as spoof of the genre as a comedy sent within the framework of the genre.

Spy does not hit the beats that viewers may expect, and it is a better film for this. Paul Feig’s film is not always laugh-out-loud funny, but it often hits the mark in terms of jokes. Thnkfully the size jokes are eschewed for the most part, to deliver something much funnier. Jason Statham’s character Rick Ford is a parody of the type of role he is often associated with, and a great source of amusement.

Spy‘s plot features the usual twists of an action movie. The film plays on Melissa McCarthy’s Susan as a fish out of water; the protagonist is removed from her comfort zone. Nevertheless, she is drawn as capable rather than the bumbling comedy idiot that she could have been. In fact, female characters in the film are both visible and depicted in positions of authority. Spy does not make a point of doing this, it is not an overt point that female characters dominate key roles. Nevertheless, male characters are not sidelined in the film.

Melissa McCarthy is amusing and amiable as Susan. However, it is Rose Byrne who steals the show with her comedy chops. Jason Statham is also good, whilst Jude Law is well cast as the suave secret agent.

Spy is an improvement on 2013’s The Heat, and bodes well for Feig’s upcoming Ghostbusters film. An action comedy that entertains throughout.

Film Review: The Heat

The Heat

Female buddy cop movie The Heat fails to work due to the lack of laughs.  And without the humour, there is little else to keep viewers entertained.

Uptight FBI agent Sarah Ashburn has an eye on a big promotion. In order to obtain it, she needs to track down an elusive drug lord in Boston. There she must work with antagonistic Boston cop Shannon Mullins if she wishes to solve the case…

After the success of Bridesmaids, director Paul Feig reunites with Melissa McCarthy for another female-centric comedy. Although the combination sounds promising, the reality does not quite match up to it.

The problem with The Heat is fundamentally the lack of humour. Certain scenes or comments that are set up to generate humour fall flat. There is a deficit of decent jokes in the script. The ones that do work are not enough to sustain the near two-hour running time.

Without a solid comedic strand, what is left is the crime story and the relationship between Ashburn and Mullins. The case that the film focuses on is really just functions as a vehicle to throw the two protagonists together. There is little of interest in the actual case.

The friendship between Ashburn and Mullins in The Heat lacks a spark. Both are rather unlikeable to begin with. The relationship does develop, but even this is not engaging. This is not because the protagonists are women, but simply due to the fact that they are not funny or endearing enough for viewers to care about their fate.

Performances by the main cast are fine. Sandra Bullock reprises the kind  of role viewers have seen her in before, but she does this suitably well. The soundtrack is one of The Heat‘s plus points.

Although the initial premise is fine, The Heat really needs to go back to the drawing board with its script. Beverly Hills Cop is a fantastic example of a cop movie that offers comedy and action in equal spades. The Heat is no Beverly Hills Cop.

Stuff To Look At

Posters galore this week! Disney’s animated short Get a Horse gets a screening, a trailer for Meet The Millers, a clip from The Heat and more…

Get a Horse

©Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Mickey Mouse is back! Well, kind of. On Tuesday 11th June 2013 Disney unveil the never-before seen animated short Get a Horse. The hand-drawn short features Mickey Mouse and the voice of Walt Disney. It is being screened at Annecy Animation Festival in France, no word yet on if Get a Horse will become available widely.

The Heat

Sandra Bullock’s character has some uncomfortable questions to answer in this clip from upcoming buddy cop movie The Heat. Also starring Melissa McCarthy, the film is director Paul Feig’s follow up to Bridesmaids. The Heat is released in UK cinemas on 31st July 2013.

Planes

Planes

Here is the latest poster for Planes, the upcoming animated feature from Disney. The trailer for the film can be viewed here. Planes is being advertised as from ‘above the world of Cars‘, and the parallels between the films are clear. Planes hits UK cinemas on 16th August 2013.

We’re The Millers

We’re The Millers reunites Jason Sudeikis and Jennifer Aniston in a new comedy. Jennifer Aniston is certainly ageing well. We’re The Millers, which also stars Emma Roberts and Will Poulter, is released in the UK on 23rd August 2013.

The World’s End

The World's End Poster

Here is one of the newly-released character poster for The World’s End. The film reunites director Edgar Wright with stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. The film also stars Martin Freeman and Rosamund Pike. The World’s End hits UK screens on 19th July 2013.

Stuff To Look At

A feast of trailers and images. A feast for the eyes, I say. Whether it is horror, Disney animation, or crime thriller, there is something here for everyone…

Monsters University

I want to go to Monsters University! Human universities are so boring in comparison. A prequel to Monsters Inc., Monsters University tells the story of how Sully and Mike met as students. The film will be released in UK cinemas on 12th July 2013.

Oz The Great and Powerful

Oz The Great and PowerfulLook at this monkey! Surely he is reason alone for seeing Oz The Great and Powerful? Given that the film is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, it seems unlikely that hot slice Toto will appear. Not to fear, we have Finley in his little uniform to beguile us. Oz The Great and Powerful is released on 8th March 2013.

Identity Thief

Jason Bateman and Melissa McCarthy star in Identify Thief. When Sandy tracks down Diana, the woman who has stolen his identity, hijinks ensue when he tries to bring her to justice. Identity Thief is out in UK cinemas on 22nd March 2013.

Olympus Has Fallen

Well this all looks rather tense. Training Day director Antoine Fuqua brings together Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart and Angela Bassett in action thriller Olympus Has Fallen. The film hits UK screens on 19th April 2013.

Mama

A TV spot for Mama was on the other night when a friend (who shall remain nameless) could not bear to watch it. Guillermo del Toro is the executive producer of supernatural horror Mama, which stars Jessica Chastain. Mama is released on 22nd February 2013.

Side Effects

Steven Soderbergh reunites with Jude Law and Channing Tatum for thriller Side Effects. Also staring Rooney Mara and Catherine Zeta-Jones, the film is about a depressed patient who is prescribed the latest medication by her psychiatrist. Side Effects is out on 8th March 2013.

The Lone Ranger

The Lone Ranger

Here be the latest poster for The Lone Ranger. I am not quite sure why Johnny Depp has a bird on his head; I am hoping that this will be explained in the film. The Lone Ranger will hit UK cinemas on 9th August 2013.

Evil Dead

When I first saw a trailer for Evil Dead, initially I didn’t realise it was a remake of the 1981 film. Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell act as producers for this new version, so at least it gets their seal of approval. The trailer above is rather graphic, so brace yourself if you are squeamish. Evil Dead is released on 19th April 2013.

Jack the Giant Slayer

Jack the Giant Slayer

This is the latest poster for Warner Brothers’ Jack the Giant Slayer. Jack and the Beanstalk is not one of those fairy tales that has had a plethora of film adaptations, so it will be interesting to see what is done with it. Released in 3D, Jack the Giant Slayer hits UK screens on 22nd March 2013.

Dark Skies

Another horror! When the Sandman is mentioned, it is unlikely that things are going to go well. Dark Skies is giving me shades of The Birds. However, the trailer indicates more supernatural activity than this. Dark Skies is released in the UK on 5th April 2013.

The Paperboy

Having already been released in America, a certain scene in The Paperboy has been discussed a lot. I won’t spoil it, for those of you who don’t know what I am talking about. Nicole Kidman heads a stellar cast in thriller The Paperboy. The film hits UK screens on 15th March 2013.

The Heat

Sandra Bullock plays a FBI agent and Melissa McCarthy a Boston cop. This old couple comedy comes from Paul Feig, director of Bridesmaids. The Heat is released in UK cinemas on 5th April 2013.