Dorian's Movie Reviews & Critiques

Is it worth seeing? Reviews are presented with no cynicism, no comparisons, no biased standards, no pretentiousness - every movie is reviewed on its individual entertainment value including technical presentation.

Note that a critique for writers follows the review.

Scale 1 - 10
2015, Twentieth Century Fox
Directed by Paul Feig
Written by Paul Feig,

MPAA Rating: - PG-13 -

Captivating, beginning to end. Can a female, overweight, CIA analyst, who sat behind a desk all day for 10 years, actually go out and stand the rigors of a James Bond style field agent assignment? Maybe. Oh, right, this is comedy. Definitely. And Melissa McCarthy (agent Susan Cooper) makes it look real.

What would a field agent be without a love interest? Voila, agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law), who in the past depended on her as ears and eyes, but otherwise doesn't know she exists. And there's the plot. If he didn't exist, what would Cooper do in his name? Cooper inevitably begs for the mission, and since she won't be recognized like all of the others, she gets it.

If the other field agents would just cooperate, she could accomplish the mission. Rick Ford (Jason Statham), believes he is the agent's agent, the epitome of all agentness, but is refused the job because he will be recognized. But just to make sure the untried and exasperatingly ill-prepared Cooper doesn't flub the mission, he goes rogue and manages to be the foil to every strategy.

The target has to be rich, treacherous, over-confident, well dressed, and surrounded by body guards. And of course beautiful and sexy - everything that Cooper fears she will never attain. Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne) is just that.

The rollicking action never stops. The audience laughed out loud numerous times.

Grab your popcorn before you sit down - you're in for a wild ride and if you miss any of it, you miss a good laugh.

Movies have to be way good for me to rate them a 9, and this comedy earned it.

Spy Internet page.

Engaging: Very.
Boring: No way.
Confusing: Never.
Characters: Flawless performances
Entertaining: Yes - Laugh all the way home
Plot: Excellent balance between plot, and character.
Uniqueness and originality: Excellent
Surprises: Yes
Recommend this movie to others: Highly
Emotional reaction to the movie (the following are from a work in progress):

  • Film Mood: Adventurous, crazy, creative, impulsive, radical, romantic, sentimental, uplifting, wonderful.
  • Film ethos (feelings left with): Appreciated, others valued.
  • Film Energy: Engaging, refreshing.
  • Film Outlook: Optimistic

Technical and critique

My comments below attempt to draw attention to technical things that make a movie good, especially if they made major contributions. I do all of these things, but for professional judgments on these various arts, the reader should consult professionals in these arts, and realize that these notes are not part of the overall rating for entertainment value.

  • Writing - Excellent comedy writing exhibited here. The groping agent was a little tedious, but some good scenes and a nice twist at the end. Great characterization: They were a little stereotyped, but this set up expectations that were often foiled. Well integrated interaction with the set and use of the set as a "character, such as the roped motor scooter." Very visually presented. Nine spotlights.
  • Acting - Flawless performances by Statham, McCarthy, Law, Byrne, and others. Very believable, especially for comedy. Melissa McCarthy made the action look plausible - congrats to her, the other actors, the stunt people and stunt choreographers. Nine spotlights.
  • Casting - Loved the casting. Very unexpected things from Jason Statham. Nine spotlights.
  • Dialogue - Well chosen. Nine spotlights. I notice when lines are just there to be funny (one-liners), when they move the story forward, and when they come out of situations. This was a very good mix of all three. The one-liners didn't interfere in the story, and most were funny. There were a lot of funny situations that enabled great dialogue.
  • Directing - No flaws. Nine spotlights.
  • Lighting - Excellent - everything was visible and appropriately lit. Nine spotlights.
  • Production design - Great sets lent to the credibility of the action. Fantastic use of the set to help tell the story through interaction and through motif. Nine spotlights.
  • Sound - Excellent - All dialogue could be plainly heard (hope it's the same for home viewing). Ten spotlights.
  • Special effects - They were invisible, except when intended to be visible, which is excellent.
  • Editing - the action flowed smoothly, the story timing and pace were great. Sound was well mixed. The editing captured good action and character reactions in very complicated shooting sequences, and put together a very coherent story. Ten spotlights.
  • Music - seamless, and complimented the action. Noteworthy.
  • Costume design - Melissa McCarthy's costumes spoke character desires. All seemed appropriate.
  • Cinematography - well executed and told the story visually. Ten spotlights.

Story critique: what worked well, what didn't, and why?

The story was plausible for a comedy most of the time, so character actions didn't bump the audience out of the fictional dream.

Critique: Cooper's ability to fly a jet and a helicopter were a bit over the top - probably should have been talked through by an expert, except maybe for the control yoke and helicopter joy stick. The agent who kept groping Cooper was overdone and tiresome. The other agent shooting from a helicopter was also a bit of a stretch.

The story doesn't reflect the real operating structure of the C.I.A., which is probably a good thing.

Other comments

The first scenes let us know immediately that this was a comedy. It was a parody of other spy movies in which agents are talked through a locale by those watching. Excellent. We didn't get set up for something else and then disappointed. Good opening. No real motif that I noticed.

The lights went out, Jason Statham did his thing - we knew from his persona what to expect and didn't need to see it. Very well done, although I'm not a fan of actor stereotypes carrying over into other stories. Yet in this story, because he didn't do what we expected him to, and we knew what he could do, this was acceptable. I liked Statham in this role.

- Dorian


  • 10 Spotlights: The best of movie making, well worth seeing (rarely given)
  • 8 Spotlights: Good movie for the genre; may have minor technical or story problems but they hardly harm the enjoyment; clearly worth seeing; (most movies)
  • 6 Spotlights: Not bad, but has problems - worth seeing
  • 4 Spotlights: Caution - a "B" movie, probably will appeal only to some
  • 1 Spotlight: Caution - not recommended for any audience (will probably never be given)

My reviews are not based much on my personal taste, or any standard besides entertainment value. I try to be as objective as possible, keeping in mind that entertainment value is very subjective and individualized. If I'm not interested in a movie I usually don't go see it, so it doesn't get reviewed. Each character, and each position in the production company might be highlighted if the contribution affected the enjoyment of the story as either outstanding or dismal and I noticed it, keeping in mind that many contributions are singularly distinguished by their seamless integration with the story, not calling attention to themselves and thereby escaping attention.

- Dorian Scott Cole

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