Tag: Melissa McCarthy

MOVIE REVIEW | Spy (2015)

Spy

“You really think you’re ready for the field? I once used defibrillators on myself. I put shards of glass in my fuckin’ eye. I’ve jumped from a high-rise building using only a raincoat as a parachute and broke both legs upon landing; I still had to pretend I was in a fucking Cirque du Soleil show! I’ve swallowed enough microchips and shit them back out again to make a computer. This arm has been ripped off completely and re-attached with this fuckin’ arm.”

With Bridesmaids, Paul Feig made one of the funniest movies of the last decade.  Yet, with all that goodwill, it still took me a long time to get around to watching The Heat.  And it turns out, with The Heat, Paul Feig made another really funny movie.  The premise was bigger and broader, but he proved to be up to the task of combining comedy and action.  So this time around, when Feig had another movie in the cinemas, I put my reservations about the seemingly goofy premise aside, and was quick to see Spy.


While handsome CIA spy and man of mystery Bradley Fine (Jude Law) gets to wear the tux and infiltrate the high society parties of international super villains, his desk bound partner, Susan Cooper (Melissa McCarthy) does just as much work while receiving none of the glory.  But when Fine is shot and it’s revealed that the real identities of every major CIA spy has been revealed to the bad guys, Susan’s anonymity becomes an asset.

Much to the chagrin of super spy Rick Ford (Jason Statham), Susan is chosen to go into the field to track down some missing nukes.  With Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) in her sights, and the lascivious Italian Aldo (Peter Serafinowicz) as her ally, Susan goes after Sergio De Luca (Bobby Cannavale).   Then it’s a globe trotting adventure of intrigue and action as Susan takes on the bad guys, while proving she’s up to the task of taking on bad guys.

Here’s the thing about Spy, Paul Feig has made a proper, actual spy movie.  There are gadgets, and action, and shoot outs and plenty of really cool set pieces.  But the problem is, all of that spy and action stuff leaves very little room for Spy to be funny.  It made me laugh more than few times, but they were individual moments that were basically just standalone, random jokes.  They were jokes in spite of the movie, not a part of it.

There was one unexpected aspect of Spy though that I really liked.  Susan isn’t an inept character who succeeds despite her ineptitude.  There’s no dumb luck or hilarious misunderstandings that lead to unlikely victories.   Susan is a smart, capable character who succeeds because she’s smart and capable.

While I love Ghostbusters, the news of Paul Feig making an all women reboot, starring McCarthy hasn’t really made me care either way.  I know he’s a good enough writer and director that it won’t be terrible.  I just don’t think it needs to exist.  The ho-hum blandness of Spy makes my anticipation of the new Ghostbusters even more ambivalent.

Spy
Directed By – Paul Feig
Written By – Paul Feig

MOVIE REVIEW | St Vincent (2014)

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“We don’t bump the ugly parts no more, so don’t ask.”

Modern day Bill Murray has settled into a definite rhythm. He makes middle to highbrow stuff (with the occasional train wreck), where he gets to be the best thing in it. He gets juicy roles that, on paper, look like they should lead to Oscar nominations, but rarely do. He obviously only makes what tickles his fancy. On paper St Vincent would have looked like a sure fire Oscar contender and fancy tickler. In practice, it’s a better than average, middle brow, feel good drama.


Vin (Bill Murray) has life down to a science. He drinks too much, he gambles too much, he hides form his bookie, he bangs a local Russian stripper (Naomi Watts as Daka) who’s unborn baby may or not be his, and he’s broke. When his new neighbour Maggie (Melissa MCarthy) knocks down a tree that lands on his car and breaks his fence, he sees it has a quick cash grab. When Maggie’s son Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), arrives on Vin’s doorstep one day because he’s locked out of his house and his mum works long hours, Vin decides to cash in even more, becoming Oliver’s babysitter. (more…)

***2013 RECAP*** MOVIE REVIEW | The Heat

The-Heat-Quad-Poster-585x438

When did being really funny become not enough for a comedy to be critically successful?  When did everyone disappear so far up themselves that there was no room left for dumb, funny movies?  Because The Heat is funny. Really, really funny.  Yet currently on only 66% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes.  I’m not saying it’s a comedy classic that will live on like Ghostbusters or Caddyshack, but it’s a solid comedy that made me laugh all the way through, so what else could I ask for?  


This is a buddy cop comedy, but the difference is, these buddies are broads.  Boob havin’, double X chromosome boastin’, non-dude broads.  That is, ladies.  What I like about The Heat though, is that their gender is never really milked for easy jokes.  Sure, there are a lot of jokes that require them to be women for them to work, but only in the way that really vulgar, insulting, harsh jokes and attacks on character often come down to gender, no matter which the butt of those jokes might be. But both of these main characters are capable, successful women in their field, and the men around them never seem to question that confidence or their abilities based on gender.

As this is a buddy cop comedy, one needs to be uptight and by the book (Sandra Bullock) and one needs to be a loose cannon who plays by her own rules (Melissa McCarthy).  Bullock is an over achieving, overly formal and book smart FBI agent who’s current case takes her to Boston, where she reluctantly teams up with McCarthy’s street smart, no bull shit cop.  You can probably predict every beat that plays out from here, but that’s fine.  Pretty much every movie follows an overly familiar map, but it’s the jokes, set pieces and performances along the way that make it worthwhile.

One criticism I’ve read more than once of The Heat is that it the move relies too much on McCarthy’s improv.  And that’s accusation isn’t inaccurate, I just don’t think it’s a bad thing.  So many scenes are obviously just director Paul Feig pointing a camera at McCarthy and letting her go off on one.  But when the results are so consistently funny, filthy and entertaining, I’m on board.  Sure, it’s the same technique used by McCarthy in the mostly overlooked, almost completely forgotten Identity Thief, but somehow, it pays off more effectively here.

While she’s the bigger name of the two, Sandra Bullock takes a back seat to McCarthy and is given the thankless job of delivering exposition and moving the story forward.  But on the occasions when she is thrown the comedy ball, she runs with it with all she’s got and is more than capable of keeping up with McCarthy’s comedy assaults.

From what people called the female answer to The Hangover with Bridesmaids, to the female answer to the buddy cop comedy in The Heat, to his recently announced female comedy answer to James Bond, Feig definitely has a thing for gender equality.  Or maybe he’s just stumbled across an easy formula of putting chicks in traditionally blokey roles and watching the box office dollars roll in.  If the movies stay this funny, I don’t really care what his motivation is.

The Heat
Directed By – Paul Feig
Written By – Katie Dippold

MOVIE REVIEW | The Heat (2013)

The-Heat-Quad-Poster-585x438

When did being really funny become not enough for a comedy to be critically successful?  When did everyone disappear so far up themselves that there was no room left for dumb, funny movies?  Because The Heat is funny. Really, really funny.  Yet currently on only 63% with critics on Rotten Tomatoes.  I’m not saying it’s a comedy classic that will live on like Ghostbusters or Caddyshack, but it’s a solid comedy that made me laugh all the way through, so what else could I ask for?  


This is a buddy cop comedy, but the difference is, these buddies are broads.  Boob havin’, double X chromosome boastin’, non-dude broads.  That is, ladies.  What I like about The Heat though, is that their gender is never really milked for easy jokes.  Sure, there are a lot of jokes that require them to be women for them to work, but only in the way that really vulgar, insulting, harsh jokes and attacks on character often come down to gender, no matter which the butt of those jokes might be. But both of these main characters are capable, successful women in their field, and the men around them never seem to question that confidence or their abilities based on gender.

As this is a buddy cop comedy, one needs to be uptight and by the book (Sandra Bullock) and one needs to be a loose cannon who plays by her own rules (Melissa McCarthy).  Bullock is an over achieving, overly formal and book smart FBI agent who’s current case takes her to Boston, where she reluctantly teams up with McCarthy’s street smart, no bull shit cop.  You can probably predict every beat that plays out from here, but that’s fine.  Pretty much every movie follows an overly familiar map, but it’s the jokes, set pieces and performances along the way that make it worthwhile.

One criticism I’ve read more than once of The Heat is that it the move relies too much on McCarthy’s improv.  And that’s accusation isn’t inaccurate, I just don’t think it’s a bad thing.  So many scenes are obviously just director Paul Feig pointing a camera at McCarthy and letting her go off on one.  But when the results are so consistently funny, filthy and entertaining, I’m on board.  Sure, it’s the same technique used by McCarthy in the mostly overlooked, almost completely forgotten Identity Thief, but somehow, it pays off more effectively here.

While she’s the bigger name of the two, Sandra Bullock takes a back seat to McCarthy and is given the thankless job of delivering exposition and moving the story forward.  But on the occasions when she is thrown the comedy ball, she runs with it with all she’s got and is more than capable of keeping up with McCarthy’s comedy assaults.

From what people called the female answer to The Hangover with Bridesmaids, to the female answer to the buddy cop comedy in The Heat, to his recently announced female comedy answer to James Bond, Feig definitely has a thing for gender equality.  Or maybe he’s just stumbled across an easy formula of putting chicks in traditionally blokey roles and watching the box office dollars roll in.  If the movies stay this funny, I don’t really care what his motivation is.

Directed By – Paul Feig
Written By – Katie Dippold