Cast: Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jude Law, Miranda Hart, Jason Statham, Allison Janney, Peter Serafinowicz and Bobby Cannavale.
Plot Summary: (Courtesy of IMDB) Susan Cooper is an unassuming, deskbound CIA analyst, and the unsung hero behind the Agency’s most dangerous missions. But when her partner falls off the grid and another top agent is compromised, she volunteers to go deep undercover to infiltrate the world of a deadly arms dealer, and prevent a global crisis.
I’m quite picky when it comes to action films. For instance, I enjoy watching a Bond flick now and again but I loathe anything with the words “Fast” or “Furious” in the title. This film however appealed to me a lot as it is directed by Paul Feig, who also helmed Bridesmaids (one of my favourite comedies in recent years) and stars the immensely talented Melissa McCarthy. Here she plays Susan Cooper, a CIA analyst and assistant to top field agent (and her unrequited love) Bradley Fine, played by Jude Law in a rare comedic role. After a mission goes tragically awry, she volunteers to track down a ruthless arms dealer who has obtained a nuclear weapon intended for mass destruction.
This is McCarthy’s third collaboration with Feig, after appearing in his previous films The Heat and Bridesmaids (for which she earned her first Oscar nomination). Once again, they prove to be a great director-actor combo with Feig allowing McCarthy to showcase her impressive improvisational skills. After the misfire that was Tammy last year, it’s great to see McCarthy back on form and turning what could have easily been a 2-dimensional character into a multi-faceted protagonist who we can’t help but root for. She is backed up by a superbly talented supporting cast. Rose Byrne, who up until 5 years ago was seen primarily as a dramatic actress, continues to show off her comedic skills and delivers some of the best lines in the whole film. Miranda Hart, in her first major film role, gets some big laughs as well as Susan’s colleague/BFF Nancy. Allison Janney and Jude Law also offer solid support during their relatively brief screentimes. However, the film’s secret weapon is Jason Statham. He is essentially playing a caricature of his on-screen persona and he steals almost every scene he’s in. Statham should do more comedy in the future (but please God not another Crank film).
This could have simply been another spoof along the lines of the Austin Powers films. Instead, it’s a actually a straight-up action thriller which just happens to be very funny. In fact, the action itself is quite grisly at times but is offset with moments of hilarity (Susan’s reaction to her first kill is priceless albeit pretty gross too). If I had to be picky, I would say it was probably a bit too long for a comedy. Also, while he does get some laughs, Peter Serafinowicz’s sleezy Italian agent could have been left out. And you would think that after his previous “acting” endeavours, 50 Cent would just stick to his day job. Those bits aside, it’s pretty much faultless and by far the best action comedy to come out in years (if not decades).
In all, director Paul Feig (who also wrote the script) has created a loving homage to the action thriller genre that is both hilarious and action-packed. It’s easily the best comedy of this year so far and well worth a visit or two to your local multiplex.