‘Spy’ and ‘San Andreas’: Cracking up all over

By on June 10, 2015

After making one of the biggest clunkers in comedic history (“Tammy”) Melissa McCarthy is back. The television star of “Mike & Molly” has reunited with writer and director Paul Feig (“The Heat,” “Bridesmaids”) to take the top spot at the box office this weekend, but “Spy” opened with plenty of shouts from the haters.

“I’m done with McCarthy. Just not funny,” writes Jason H. of Lititz, whose comments were definitely milder than some things I read on Internet message boards.

Susan Cooper (McCarthy) is a tech expert with the C.I.A. and is smitten with field agent Bradley Fine (Jude Law). When the bad guys use a mole to get top secret info on all field agents the agency director (Allison Janney, who for some reason is uncredited) turns to the untested Cooper. It turns out she is a cross between James Bond and Maxwell Smart. Chasing down the bad guys while searching for a portable nuclear bomb she runs into her new nemesis Rayna Boyanov (Rose Byrne, “Annie”).

“Spy” is a rather run of the mill comedy, especially the first half. There are a few good jokes, but most of the humor comes from Cooper’s mouth after she takes her battle with Boyanov to another level and from the overacting of agent Rick Ford (Jason Statham). If you’re into comedies, this movie will satisfy your needs in a genre seemingly devoid of any creativity.

[Note: I went to the theater to see “Entourage,” but talked myself out of it. I never watched the show and really have no interest in the movie. I wasn’t alone. The movie bombed in its opening weekend, making a scant-in movie terms-$10 million. And I’m sure it will not bode any better this weekend against the release of “Jurassic World.”]

According to reviewer Michael Upton, even comedic favorite Melissa McCarthy couldn’t save “Spy” from being a run of the mill film.

According to reviewer Michael Upton, even comedic favorite Melissa McCarthy couldn’t save “Spy” from being a run of the mill film.

Also in theaters: ‘San Andreas’

Can you smell what The Rock is cookin’? I can. Millions of dollars. Professional wrestler turned action superstar Dwayne Johnson is reaping the rewards of his choice not to take himself seriously. This time, Johnson signed up with Warner Bros. to make “San Andreas.” I’m a real sucker for disaster movies, so you know I saw the California-quaker on opening weekend (and it’s still holding strong at the box office as number two, poised well to go over $100 million).

Johnson is Ray, a military vet who now flies rescue operations in California. Lawrence (Paul Giamatti) is a seismologist at Caltech who just received evidence his method for predicting earthquakes works. The quakes providing the information are in a strange location and his team heads to the Hoover Dam. And the carnage and destruction begins; the dam is the first casualty in what becomes a wonderfully horrible and incredulously entertaining disaster movie. This movie has franchise written all over it, but I wonder how they change the location? Or do they? If you like big budget entertainment and breathtaking graphics “San Andreas” is the movie for you.

Now, for a little soapbox talk. I had a real problem with how this movie begins — with a glimpse of a young girl texting while driving. She loses control and careens into a canyon where she remains stuck until Ray can show up and save her. Texting while driving is a real problem. Inattentive motorists are causing accidents more and more often. “San Andreas” writers should have let the female character die to send a message to all the irresponsible drivers who choose to pay more attention to their smart phones than the roadway.

Agree or disagree? Reel Reviews works like this: 1) Watch a movie; 2) Send suggestions, comments and criticism to Michael at SomeProMCU@gmail.com.

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