Melissa McCarthy is very good in the lead as a spy’s handler who’s forced into the field when the spy she handles, the dashing Bradley Fine, assayed by a very game Jude Law, albeit one with a bizarrely unsettling American accent, is killed by Rose Byrne’s unhinged villainess. The film has real pretensions to being both a spy film and a comedy. It globe trots to exotic locations way more than I expected and the plot is heavy enough that people who go to a comedy in order to turn off their brains will be utterly lost pretty quickly. But the film succeeds as a comedy to a large degree and the action-adventure isn’t very good, excepting one absolutely brilliant action sequence, a close quarters knife-fight in a kitchen that’s as funny and exciting as about any action sequence I’ve seen this year (that wasn’t in Kingsman). McCarthy is a compelling lead, as always, and no one can pull of an insulting rant like she can; wait until you hear what her muse on why Byrne’s character is an only child. And there are wonderful supporting turns from Law, Allison Janney (as the humorless Deputy CIA Director) and a surprisingly underused Bobby Cannavale. Rose Byrne, an actress I’ve always thought was an underrated comedian, nearly steals the movie as the scenery chewing Rayna Boyanov, a cold-hearted killer with a merciless disdain for everyone. Jason Statham is really a supporting character, not the co-star that the poster makes him appear to be, but I was fine with that as I honestly didn’t find his character all that funny. Also problematic is Miranda Hart as McCarthy’s British best friend and Peter Serafinowicz as a randy Italian spy; I frankly found both of them painfully unfunny. More evidence for the relativity of comedy; the audience seemed to love them both, but I didn’t. Anyway, the film has laughs, but it’s also very inconsistent. I certainly didn’t take to it like a lot of people did; even the critics are calling it a sort of high-water mark for McCarthy. Personally, I thought The Heat was far superior to this one. Anyway, you’ll have some fun, so I won’t recommend against it, but it isn’t one you need to dash out and see immediately or anything. Conditionally recommended. 3 stars.
tl;dr – very inconsistent action-comedy has moments of real genius, but also features some dreadfully unfunny bits; when the movie works, it really works, but when it doesn’t, it falls absolutely flat. 3 stars.