** out of four
The new comedy starring plus-size comedienne Melissa McCarthy has a couple of big laughs and then some mild giggles scattered throughout, but that is about it.
McCarthy is Susan Cooper, a frumpy CIA desk jockey. When her in-the-field spy partner (Jude Law) disappears, she volunteers to go deep undercover to bust an arms dealer. That is only a very brief synopsis, for there is a surprising amount of plot here for a silly comedy, so when the laughs don't come, it's disappointing. Jason Statham, playing a hot-tempered colleague of Cooper's, and Law seem game, but both are given little to do. Maybe that is somehow writer/director Paul Feig's revenge for years and years of so many action/spy movies with thankless female co-starring roles.
McCarthy and Rose Byrne, as a rich bad girl, have some fun scenes together, but most of this is the usual McCarthy shtick – the unleashing of a long diatribe about what she is going to do to someone.
There was no reason, however, for Spy to be so violent. It was jarring at times – several shots to the head as well as flesh being dissolved from someone's throat – and clashes with the “cute comedy” aspects of the film. It''s also lame that it becomes a full on action movie by the end, with a motorcycle riding, machine gun shooting McCarthy being substituted by an obvious stunt double who looks like singer Meat Loaf.
Spy had great potential, but it's just not as funny as it should have been.