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Spy (DQ)


Stars: Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Allison Janney, Miranda Hart, Peter Serafinowicz, Morena Baccarin

Director: Paul Feig

A clunky comedy vehicle for bulky McCarthy (solo billed above the title) that gives her growing legions of fans what they'll expect: tons of swearing and sex jokes and the star in full insult mode as a CIA tracker who loses her favourite agent (Law), shot by international arms dealer Raina (Byrne) while Coop (McCarthy) is put out of action by a swarm of bats back at HQ.

It's like a 15 certificate version of those old, indifferent Morecambe and Wise film comedies of the 1960s.

Ignoring the pleas of ace agent Rick Ford (Statham), whose extravagant claims - including being immune to 179 different kinds of poison - conceal feet of clay, the Chief (Janney at her most acerbic) needs a new face to find Raina, who's intending to sell a nuclear device. And guess who gets chosen?

To her disgust, Coop gets a second-grade array of defensive gadgets, but determines to channel her inner anger-management personality and show her worth, soon proving that female (well, this one anyway) is deadlier than the male.

Trumpeted from the opening credits as a James Bond spoof, this is comedy as broad as its star: Law, Statham, Byrne, Janney and Serafinowicz (as an ever-amorous Italian agent) all try to do something with their roles, although there isn't much there. As Coop's contact back at base, Hart is, well, Hart. Like the star, you'll either love her or loathe her.

McCarthy, as ever, carries all before her, and, disguised in a straight black wig, looks frighteningly like Dawn French. On the credit side, the action is convincingly done almost throughout, apart from a rather silly helicopter joust at the end. I fear Spy 2 may be waiting in the wings.

David Quinlan

USA 2015. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Technicolor.
120 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 31 May 2015