Monday, May 25, 2015
1:47 AM |
The Name's Cooper, Susan Cooper.
While it is true that American comedy of recent years has lost its cinematic funny bone (as this video essay by Tony Zhou
clearly demonstrates, which pays special attention to the cinema of Paul Feig), it is also undeniably true that sometimes funny is just funny
. There is, after all, much to love in the hilarious inanity of Feig's James Bond spoof, Spy
(2015), starring the irrepressible Melissa McCarthy. Ms. McCarthy, after breaking out (and getting Oscar-nominated) in Feig's Bridesmaids
(2011), has clearly come far and made for herself a unique attraction in film comedy: she has created a persona we have all come to appreciate and love, something only the best physical comedians -- Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Bill Murray, Jim Carrey, among others -- have managed to concoct and sell to an appreciative audience. In Ms. McCarthy's case, it is the generously endowed woman with pretensions of meekness who suddenly discovers a predilection for being bad-ass and foul-mouthed. She makes it work.
She has brought that persona to the shells of various characters in her movies -- including a tomboyish bridesmaid, an angry police officer, and a happy-go-lucky identity thief -- and sometimes they work, and sometimes they fall to the abyss of the uninspired. This time around, as a CIA desk jockey who finds herself becoming an active agent, the persona is fully engaged, making the pratfalls and banter that follow something in the new movie to love. The film works as a project of great comic timing, and while you are aware that everything you see is just comedic fantasy, you find yourself becoming fully invested in the shenanigans that unfold. Perhaps that is because everyone seems heavily invested in making this film work -- Jude Law and Jason Statham, for example, seem to be in serious modes deconstructing with glee their respective screen personas as suave playboy and dynamite action figure. This in turn makes the film a whole bunch of fun I did not really expect. Hell, it's a movie where you come to love
Rose Byrne's villain as well while you buy thoroughly her cold-bloodedness. If that doesn't say anything about this film's appeal, I don't know what will.
Labels: comedians, film
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