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Monday, June 8, 2015
When I prepare to watch any new comedy, I have very low expectations. The new generation of comedy writers that includes Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen rely primarily on fart jokes, penis humor, and grossing audiences out to make people laugh. I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s when there was plenty of common denominator humor, but also a lot of clever and original humor as well. These days, clever and original have left the building and we are stuck with nothing but common denominator humor.

So I did not place any lofty expectations on Spy, but I will admit that I found the trailer to be amusing. Honestly, I had not seen or heard anything about this movie until last Thursday when I saw it was listed on screen one at the drive-in. I watched the trailer and found my interest piqued. I figured I would give Hollywood some kind of chance to atone a little for Paul Blart. I figured it was only fair.

First of all, it annoys me that people dismiss Melissa McCarthy as the female version of Kevin James because they are both overweight. The biggest difference between McCarthy and James, aside from gender, is that McCarthy is actually funny. I will admit that my exposure to her work before I saw Spy was limited, but after seeing the movie I can say that I won’t be avoiding any of her movies in the future.

While writer/director Paul Feig swears that Spy is not a parody, rest assured that it is most definitely a parody of the James Bond genre of movies. That is not a bad thing and I don’t understand why Feig would insist that it is not parody when he is such a James Bond fan. But I am glad that the inspiration was there for Feig because Spy is an extremely entertaining movie.

One of the elements of the trailer that caught my eye was Jason Statham’s appearance in a role that is an obvious parody of the roles Statham is traditionally known for. Statham nails his role in Spy and it is a lot of fun to watch. He is either a great sport or he sees the parody potential in the roles he is famous for because he plays a great lampoon of himself. I also appreciate how the movie did not overuse Statham’s role and hammer the joke until it wasn’t funny anymore. Statham was funny from start to finish, as were most of the other actors in this film.

McCarthy herself plays her role very well and, since I don’t have any experience with any other McCarthy movies, I honestly do not know if she plays the same type of character in every movie. If she does play the same type of character, then it works in Spy. I have no idea if it works in other movies.

There are scenes in this movie that tend to drag on a little too long and wear out the joke. Many of the interactions between McCarthy’s character Susan Cooper and Jude Law’s character Bradley Fine often start out funny, but then drag out too long. Susan Cooper’s interactions with the female villain Rayna Boyanov also develop into some extremely funny situations, but then they drag out to the point where I just stopped caring.

The visual jokes can be clever, but they are usually pretty straightforward. One of the comedic devices that Spy uses very well is those quick little jokes that sometimes are related to the action and sometimes not, but usually very funny. The movie does look pieced together in spots because of these quick visual jokes, but they are worth it.

All in all, Spy is a funny movie that I would actually not mind seeing again. It is not written by the same group of writers who create the disasters that are passed off as comedy these days, so that is definitely a step in the right direction. You will have fun with Spy, but its heavy use of graphic language makes it not a very family friendly movie. Still, this is a comedy that I would recommend for anyone looking for a fun night at the drive-in.

Rating: 2 out of 5

+George N Root III  is a drive-in fanatic who has almost given up on finding any new comedies that are actually funny. Follow him on Twitter @georgenroot3 or email him at Join the Facebook conversation about this movie on the At The Drive-in Facebook page.

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