Yes, it’s true, a woman’s place is in the kitchen … as long as she is not just cooking, but also writing, producing, directing and starring in her own film. Take a bow Samantha Tan, creator of Amazon Prime Video’s short film Ally Chia . A young Malaysian chef, Ally, has just scored the biggest order her business has ever had, feeding the crew of a late-night location shoot in Los Angeles, in the United States. Having prepared the feast in her home kitchen, she is about to set off across town with the comestibles when her boyfriend intervenes with other, more raunchy, parental filter-worthy plans. The boyfriend is black, which, like his very existence, is a fact concealed from Ally’s hectoring mother, who nags and gripes by Skype from across the ocean. It’s all decidedly downhill from there, with multiplying problems threatening to make a crisis out of Ally’s crowning achievement. Which, back in reality, is not the case for Tan’s small but perfectly formed comedy-drama. Shot in a single day by an exclusively female crew, the film takes its inspiration from testing times Petaling Jaya native Tan has faced as a chef running her own catering company – which remains in business. Ally Chia can be found among numerous outstanding shorts, as it were, in the Amazon cupboard, but this one in particular has the look of a series teaser. Whether a larger project develops remains to be seen, but it would be foolish to bet on Chia, or Tan, both plainly ambitious, having nothing else to say. Sacha Baron Cohen becomes Israel’s most infamous undercover agent in The Spy Try as he might – and he tries hard, with alter egos ranging from Ali G and Brüno to Admiral General Aladeen and Norman “Nobby” Butcher – Sacha Baron Cohen is unlikely to ever shrug off the spectre of Borat. And that’s ironic, because as Borat Sagdiyev, in Borat , he revels in the appallingly anti-Semitic “running of the Jew” pageant, while in new Netflix series The Spy , he turns up as Israel’s most famous (or notorious) undercover agent. A certain “Boratic” goofiness is reassuringly intact as namesake Eli Cohen begins his transformation from happy-go-lucky Tel Aviv department store number-cruncher to sophisticated 1960s superspy. Posing as Arab businessman Kamel Amin Thaabet, he makes his circuitous way, via Buenos Aires, in Argentina, to Syria, where the Israeli secret service, Mossad, wants to secrete an operative. Fervent patriot Cohen, implausibly rising to the position of deputy defence secretary for the enemy, becomes spectacularly successful at his new job. Along the way, Agent 88, “our man in Damascus”, takes ops into his own hands, defying his handlers and disobeying orders, but usually managing to charm his way out of a corner when his enthusiasm threatens to blow his cover. One imagines this six-part interpretation of the espionage game to be more realistic than those predicated on car chases, jet packs, gunfights, girls and laser beams, and as such it is relatively slow burning, with much procedural angst in mundane back offices and an acknowledgement that dangerous undercover work is murder on the families left behind. But as it unfolds, Baron Cohen proves a credible, eminently watchable spy, regardless of the ghost of Borat; and no one ever suggested that the Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy television series (1979), starring Alec Guinness, suffered from its glacial narrative progress. Going straight, in the right role, suits Baron Cohen, it seems, particularly if the story played out is largely factual and he is free to deploy, deadpan, the gravitas required – a thespian skill he’s kept largely hidden so far. At such moments here, even his superspy’s Borat-moustache disguise struggles to break the spell of sincerity, and we believe.