'Spy' Movie Review: How Funny Is This Melissa McCarthy Comedy?

Get all the details of the new film.

ByABC News
June 5, 2015, 4:23 PM

— -- Starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham

Rated R

Four out of five stars

In "Spy," Melissa McCarthy is Susan Cooper, a CIA analyst who sits in a basement and acts as the eyes and ears of super-spy Bradley Fine (Jude Law). Using high-tech spy gear, Susan monitors Bradley’s every move, no matter where he is in the world, telling him exactly where he needs to go and what to do to complete his mission. Fine, of course, is calm, cool and collected in the face of danger, allowing him and Susan to carry on mundane conversations, even flirt, between body blows and assassination attempts.

Susan is in love with Fine but feels out of his league in every way, and thanks to McCarthy’s amazing timing and understated self-deprecation, it’s always funny. Then something nasty happens to Fine, courtesy of international crime family heiress Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne), and the CIA must act quickly to find her and stop her plan to sell a nuclear device to terrorists. The problem is, the CIA’s top agents have been compromised -- Boyanov will know them on sight. That’s when chronic underachiever Susan volunteers to go into the field to spy on Rayna and her crew.

"Spy" is the Melissa McCarthy movie I’ve been waiting for. She’s been solid, if not exceptional, in her previous collaborations with writer-director Paul Feig ("Bridesmaids," "The Heat") but for the first time, McCarthy’s the star of his show, and she truly shines. Let’s face it: "Identity Thief" was annoying and "Tammy" wasn’t good, despite the latter being co-written by McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, who also directed it. But in "Spy," McCarthy is at her best with the one person who knows exactly how to utilize her vast skill set.

Some of "Spy’s" best humor arises from Susan’s relationship with Jason Statham’s Rick Ford, a super-macho spy who wants no part of the plan to send Susan to do what he believes is his job. He’s a clever metaphor for every male braggart who’s ever belittled a woman to overcompensate for his own ineptitude. A household name among action-movie fans, Statham here displays comedic timing as deadly as his martial arts skills. Rick’s fond of rattling off the ridiculously dangerous, over-the-top things he’s done on different missions and, in every instance, Statham’s delivery is perfect. If this movie does as well as I think it will, people may be quoting him for years to come. Honorable mentions, as well, to Rose Byrne as Boyanov, and to Miranda Hart, who plays Nancy, Susan’s best friend and fellow basement analyst.

What’s most notable about "Spy," silly as some of its antics may be, is that McCarthy’s found the perfect vehicle for her style of comedy. She could well become the face of the first successful spy film franchise headed by a woman, and deservedly so. McCarthy isn’t defying conventions here -- she’s destroying them.