Director: Paul Feig
Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law
Have I Seen it Before: Several times, which I think alone should be testament to the film.
Did I Like It: I mean, just on spec, any film that is making people MAD ON THE INTERNET can’t be all bad, right?
That last sentiment may sound like faintly damning praise, but the virtues of Paul Feig’s paean to the 50-plus years of Bond films (and there is seldom room for references in the film beyond 007) go beyond the fact that Feig’s oeuvre stands as one of the premiere reasons for assholes to wail on the internet (the latest Star Wars movies and the fact that no one likes them being among the others).
I’m struggling to even think of another satire or spoof of the spy genre that has worked as effectively. Casino Royale (1967) came at the height of the series popularity, but is a woeful mess more known for being extraordinarily useful as a waystation for particularly difficult rounds of The Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon than anything else. Spy Hard (1996) is completely forgettable beyond the rather apt inclusion of a Weird All theme song. And while the first Austin Powers movie might have some charms, what it became has ensured that it’s re-watch value is nil.
Now with Spy, fusing knowing homages to Roger Moore, Sean Connery, and even a bit of Pierce Brosnan in the character of Bradley Fine (Jude Law), but also the later days of Daniel Craig with Rick Ford (Jason Statham). From the cinematography to the music choices, all the way down to small elements of the production design, the viewer feels automatically at home in the Bondian trappings. It also never tries too hard to ingratiate itself in that milieu. It’s perfectly happy being a medium-concept comedy, better made than most in the genre.
Plus, Allison Janney is in it. There’s not a whole lot more else you need to know.