I was going to call Spy a “by-the-numbers, formulaic spoof of the spy genre with no surprises.” It’s hard to say that, though, about a film that — not once, but twice — fills the entire IMAX screen with the image of an erect penis (even if only for one tenth of a second).
This Melissa McCarthy vehicle does follow the predictable but much-loved pattern of every “underdog” movie you’ve ever seen:
- Main Character works hard, but is under-appreciated … is worthy, but overlooked … is smart, but discounted by others … etc.
- A series of improbable accidents give the Main Character her Big Chance, despite the doubts and derision of others.
- Through a mix of luck, skill, and quick thinking, she performs well, but makes a tragic error at a key point and is thoroughly discredited.
- Even so, she rises above it all to triumph, learning more about what she really needs and deserves as a result.
I mean — that could be Pretty Woman, right? (Or Cinderella. Or maybe even Silence of the Lambs.)
While the storyline is shopworn and predictable, the perverse humor makes this spoof of the Bond films a little smarter others — but the 1980’s-era Top Secret does a better job of leveraging spy movie cliches for outright belly laughs.
Mostly harmless, but if you have kids or flinch at strong language, this one isn’t for you.