"There will be no peace before Israel is safe within its borders," a captured female terrorist deadpans about halfway through this film -- you almost expect her to pop gum, she says it so casually. A straight-faced spoof of espionage films in particular and serious intentions in general, Fay Grim is also a sequel to 1997's Henry Fool, from writer/director Hal Hartley. Fool followed the adventures of a Queens trio: aspiring writer Simon Grim (James Urbaniak), his half-asleep Martian sister, Fay (Parker Posey), and a drifter named Henry Fool (Thomas Jay Ryan), who walks into the Grims' lives claiming to have authored a multi-volume literary masterpiece called 'Confessions.' When Simon's writing ambitions start to net results in the real world, Henry's dream of being discovered as a some kind of working-class Chaucer falters. He eventually drifts on the next town, another adventure, but leaves Fay with a son. That's where we meet her now, years later, being dragged to a principal's office because the son has been caught with a pornographic viewfinder. "You're grounded, like, forever," she tells him.
The viewfinder, it turns out, was actually sent to the boy by the long-disappeared and presumed-dead Henry, and is itself a ludicrous piece of spycraft and the keystone of a worldwide conspiracy that involves the CIA, the Turkish government, Cuba, Islamic terrorists, the French government and Israel-Palestine. I think Denmark and Sweden were also implicated somehow, but it becomes hard to keep up. The feds, represented hilariously by Jeff Goldblum (he tells one fellow agent, "Carl, go take a walk in the rain") spin a tall tale for the impressionable Fay about how Henry's 'Confessions' were actually a deeply coded text that, if found and read properly, can unlock untold political secrets, but the truth is that they want to draw out Henry himself, believing him to be closely linked to an Osama bin Laden-type figure.In no time at all, Fay is whisked off to Paris on a mission to find Henry. To get herself in spy-mode, she takes to wearing a long coat and lingerie underneath and even assumes a catchy spy alias -- Emily Hopper.