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Spy - Blu-ray Review

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Spy - Movie Review

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4 stars

Melissa McCarthy has had a bit of a rocky career since her breakthrough, Oscar-nominated performance in Bridesmaids back in 2011. While being riotously funny, the roles that showcase her natural talent have been of short supply. Even when paired with an equally funny counterpart like Jason Bateman in Identity Thief, the result has been less than stellar. Thankfully, getting paired with her Bridesmaids and The Heat director Paul Feig for the third time has brought McCarthy her best role yet.

Susan Cooper, a mild-mannered, lonely CIA agent spends a majority of her day as the support representative for Jude Law's suave Bradley Fine. When Fine is slain by the femme fatale Rayna Boyanov (perfectly played by Rose Byrne), who exposes all known field agents, Cooper takes it upon herself to volunteer as Fine's replacement. Hilarity ensues as Cooper is thrust into the typical scenarios from James Bond to Jason Bourne, and comes out in the end looking just as formidable.

Spy takes certain liberties with the genre it's parodying, and rather than flat out make an absurdist parody, Feig implores a thin plot and relies heavily on the cast to deliver the laughs. And laughs there are aplenty, right down to the most insignificant characters. Running gags keep it going, the most memorable being Cooper's constant identity changes, to make her even more pathetic looking. The way it's handled though is not demeaning, rather inspiring because it mocks just how poorly women get portrayed in action films these days.

McCarthy shines, just like she did in Bridesmaids, but here she's the central focal point for all of the laughs. She delivers each gag with precision, and shows her talent as not just a larger-than-life comedian, but also a proponent for stronger female lead roles. The pool for that has been quite shallow, but not because of the efforts of the talented actresses attempting to breakthrough the male dominated genre. It was quite clever to see the trailer attached to Spy was Amy Schumer's new comedy Trainwreck, showing another powerful lead comedic female strutting her talents.

What makes Spy really enjoyable, outside of the laughs, is McCarthy's chemistry with each of the personalities in place. Her nurturing, lovable approach to Law is wonderfully portrayed, and Law maintains a debonaire approach that's believable and quite humorous. Jason Statham pokes fun at himself and 90% of his paychecks for the last decade or so by playing an over the top, mostly idiotic, rogue spy Rick Ford (whose name alone shows how one dimensional the character is, and is supposed to be). Statham dials it back too, never taking the focus off of McCarthy's Cooper, which is refreshing. Feig makes sure that Statham never takes the scene, and McCarthy delivers quip after quip making the absurdity of Rick Ford's character even better.

The real comedic gold in Spy though, comes from the banter and relationship between McCarthy's Cooper and Rose Byrne's Rayna Boyanov. These two have the best moments in Spy, and Feig plays it off really well giving them free range on their antics and chemistry. At one point, the cutesy, tame, Cooper becomes a foul-mouthed sailor type, and the ante is upped thanks to the boisterous character that McCarthy creates. Byrne and McCarthy are delightful to watch, and it's an extension from their love-hate relationship in Bridesmaids. Byrne feels a little typecast in this role, now that she's played the super-bitch in quite a few movies lately, but it works perfectly here. It's a shame Feig didn't use Byrne for The Heat, though Sandra Bullock was a good choice still.

Spy is the best film with McCarthy in it thus far. It's funnier than Bridesmaids, smarter than The Heat, and has much more heart than the rest of her filmography. She's sweet, hilarious, and good natured, and delivers a power-packed performance that stands as a testament to female comedians. This isn't delivered as a feminist film, but it's paired perfectly with the recent supposed "feminist qualities" of last month's Mad Max. It's also quite funny that the release of Spy coincides with the overly male-dominated Entourage film, that works solely as a male porn fantasy. McCarthy and Byrne are in charge in Spy, and I applaud Feig for tapping into their Chris Farley/David Spade dynamic, and delivering one of the funniest movies I've seen in awhile.

Spy - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for language throughout, violence, and some sexual content including brief graphic nudity.
Runtime:
120 mins
Director
: Paul Feig
Writer: Paul Feig
Cast:
Melissa McCarthy, Rose Byrne, Jude Law
Genre
: Comedy
Tagline:
Spy
Memorable Movie Quote: "I look like someone's homophobic aunt!"
Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Official Site: http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/spy
Release Date:
June 5, 2015
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 29, 2015
Synopsis: The CIA will never be the same with Susan Cooper on the scene. The CIA's top analyst is finally about to get some action.

Spy - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 29, 2015.
Screen Formats: 52.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps); French: Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 kbps)
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); UV digital copy; iTunes digital copy; Google Play digital copy
Region Encoding: A, B

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment presents Spy with a 1080p transfer with mixed results.  Much of the film is captured in low light situations and while the locales are captured with great detail, there are moments of unfortunate crush when black levels become too dominating.  Textures are good.  Some of the colors are striking.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix is strong and provides a nice background for some of the global shoots.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • With a great attention to detail, the commentary – provided by Paul Feig; Bob Yeoman, DP; John Vecchio, gaffer; Jessie Henderson, producer; and Wally Garcia, fight coordinator – is a solid recollection of filming the movie.  There is a surprising amount of detail discussed by the two filmmakers.

Special Features:

The blu-ray disc is loaded to the gills with supplemental items, but first 20th Century Fox offers two versions of the film for your viewing pleasure: the Theatrical Version and the Unrated Version of the film with 10 additional minutes of fun.  The supplemental items start with deleted scenes, alternate scenes, a gag reel, a bonus gag reel, and funny bits about Feig directing his actors.  We then get looks at the main characters, rats, different versions of death scenes, improve dos and don’ts, looks at Statham’s character, and then, as if that wasn’t enough, there is a 50-minute making-of featurette that can be viewed in small snippets.  Whew.  You get your money’s worth with this release.  Obviously, everyone involved had a good time.

  • Redacted Scenes (3 min)
  • Classified Alternate Scenes (32 min)
  • Top Secret Gag Reel (7 min)
  • Extra Top Secret Behind the Scenes Gag Reel (4 min)
  • Director of Intelligence Feig Makes the Cast Do His Bidding (9 min)
  • Susan and Her Men (8 min)
  • Super Villain Rayna Can't Keep It Together (5 min)
  • Super Vermin (2 min)
  • The Many Deaths of Anton (1 min)
  • The Trouble With Covers (3 min)
  • The Great Rick Ford (4 min)
  • For Your Eyes Only: Jokes-a-Plenty (13 min)
  • The Handsy World of Spies (2 min)
  • Speaking is an Art Form (2 min)
  • Super Villains of the Animal World (2 min)
  • How Spy Was Made (50 min)

 

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