Spy review: This James Bond spoof hits the bullseye
Oscar-nominated actress Melissa McCarthy reunites with Bridesmaids writer-director Paul Feig for an action-packed mission, which would leave James Bond shaken and stirred by its unorthodox approach to 21st-century espionage.
Punctuated by thrilling chases and a frenetic knife fight in a restaurant kitchen, Spy is a terrifically entertaining caper, jam-packed with belly laughs and foul-mouthed outbursts.
The hijinks are underpinned by another winning performance from McCarthy as a deskbound analyst at the CIA, who is championed for her homemade cakes rather than her intellect.
Brains arm-wrestles brawn in Feig's politically incorrect and uproarious script, including an amusing cameo from rapper 50 Cent as himself and a juicy supporting role for Miranda Hart.
Suave secret agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law) completes some of the Agency's most dangerous missions thanks to the quick-thinking and hi-tech gadgetry of analyst Susan Cooper (McCarthy). He takes all of the acclaim while Susan remains firmly in the background haunted by her controlling mother's mangled mantra: "Well behaved women do make history."
When Bradley and the other agents, including British bruiser Rick Ford (Jason Statham), are compromised, Susan puts herself forward for active duty to infiltrate the inner circle of arms dealer Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne).
McCarthy throws herself into her role with gusto, mixing steeliness with lovability as she battles armed henchmen, speeds after a target on a scooter and tries to stop a bad guy from escaping in his helicopter.
The spirit of 007 pervades every glossy frame, but with old-school chauvinism turned on its head to affirm a message of girl power and independence.