Critics Consensus

Critics Consensus: Spy is Certified Fresh

Plus, Entourage underwhelms, and Hannibal is delightfully demented.

by | June 4, 2015 | Comments

This week at the movies, we’ve got an unlikely undercover agent (Spy, starring Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham), a quartet of Hollywood bros (Entourage, starring Jeremy Piven and Adrian Grenier), and a haunted family (Insidious: Chapter 3, starring Dermot Mulroney and Stefanie Scott). What do the critics have to say?


Spy

95%

Melissa McCarthy made her bones as a scene-stealing supporting player, but her starring vehicles have only occasionally made the most of her comic gifts. Until now, that is: critics say Spy is an inspired, uproarious spoof of espionage thrillers loaded with self-effacing performances and sharp jabs at workplace sexism. When an arms dealer identifies several of the CIA’s top field agents, desk-bound analyst Susan Cooper (McCarthy) gets her chance to go undercover in Paris. But during the course of her mission, Cooper must endure a string of indignities, from an unflattering cover story to a borderline-psychotic fellow agent (Jason Statham) who questions her competence at every turn. The pundits say the Certified Fresh Spy boasts sharp dialogue, solid action sequences, and, most of all, a terrific showcase for McCarthy’s talents. (Check out this week’s 24 Frames for a gallery of silly spies from TV and the movies, and watch our video interview with the cast and crew.)



Entourage

33%

Over the course of its eight season run on HBO, Entourage entertained as both a bro wish-fulfillment fantasy and as a gentle satire of Hollywood. Entourage the movie offers up more of the same, and critics say that’s a problem — this is a low-stakes, nearly conflict-free affair that feels more like an extended TV episode than a cinematic experience. Hunky movie star Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) is directing his first film — an adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde — and live-wire agent-cum-studio head Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) is freaking out about budget overruns and Vincent’s lack of filmmaking experience. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang is busy partying, carousing, and bumping into celebrities. The pundits say that Entourage may please hardcore fans, but aside from Piven’s crass, coarse performance, it’s too bland and self-satisfied to appeal to non-diehards. (Check out this week’s Total Recall for a list of essential movies about movies, and watch our video interview with the stars.)



Insidious: Chapter 3

59%

Plenty of horror movie part threes exist primarily to wring a few extra box office bucks out of a brand name franchise. However, while critics say that Insidious: Chapter 3 is a bit too reliant on empty jump scares, it’s smarter and more character-driven than many others of its ilk, and does a decent job of staking out new territory within the Insidious universe. Still grieving from the death of her mother, high school senior Quinn (Stefanie Scott) asks a psychic to make contact with her mother’s spirit and unwittingly draws the attention of a malevolent supernatural force in the process. The pundits say Insidious Chapter 3 can’t match the efficient terror of the original, but it’s a better-than-average fright-fest that builds considerable tension throughout. (Check out our video interview with the stars of Chapter 3.)

What’s On TV:


Following several episodes of setup, “Hardhome” (100 percent) blends a sharp script with spectacular blockbuster action to offer viewers a powerful, game-changing payoff.

Bryan Fuller serves up another delightfully demented season of Hannibal (100 percent) featuring a hearty helping of gorgeous gore, paired with a sweet side of twisted humor (read our Q&A with Fuller here).

UnReal (Certified Fresh at 95 percent) uses reality TV as a suitably soapy springboard for absorbing drama.

Also opening this week in limited release:

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