Spies are masters of disguise. They make you think they’re something that they’re not.
That holds true with The Spy Who Dumped Me, a new film starring Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon. With its female leads coming from the worlds of sitcom and sketch comedy, you’d think its a buddy comedy. It’s not. This is a violent action movie, with the emphasis on violent.
The premise is simple. After a year of dating, Audrey (Kunis) is is on the rocks with her boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux). He’s never around. That’s because he’s a globe-trotting CIA operative, the titular spy who dumps her. Drew finally returns home, only to be taken out by assassins. With his dying breath, he gives Audrey cryptic instructions to go to Vienna. Since her BFF Morgan (McKinnon) is at the apartment at the time, she’s become a target as well.
The duo is relentlessly pursued by assassins. Another handsome agent Sebastian (Outlander’s Sam Heughan) enters, but they’re not sure they can trust him. After a series of chases, gunfights, and explosions, Audrey and Morgan finally decipher Drew’s instructions, and learn why the international gang of hitmen (and one very bendy female assassin) were after him … and now them.
Action Trumps Humor
Right from the get-go, The Spy Who Dumped Me is all about the action. The opening sequence shows Drew fighting his way out of a busy farmer’s market, navigating a maze-like apartment complex, and executing a Tom Cruise-esque jump out a tall window to his escape vehicle. While not the most original, the action sequences are intense and generally well-executed. The action trumps the humor though, with more punches landed than jokes.
Kunis’ hysterics are hysterical. She’s a woman who witnesses her boyfriend’s execution and truly doesn’t know what to do next. She makes many panicked decisions which result in even more compromising situations. Her portrayal of Audrey is consistent, but the same can’t be said of McKinnon. Her Morgan wavers from being a headstrong leader who inspires Audrey to a petulant child whining to her parents. She delivers one-liners and double-entendres (i.e. when Sebastian’s cover gets “blown”) with her signature sarcastic style honed from her years on Saturday Night Live. But audiences never get a real sense of who Morgan is.
Is The Spy Who Dumped Me Good?
That’s the problem with the film of the whole. One never gets a real sense of what it is. Comedy? Thriller? Caper? It’s all of these and none of these.
The Spy Who Dumped Me delivers on the action and partially on the comedy. Some of the rare best laughs come from Jane Curtain and Paul Reiser, who play Morgan’s parents, and Gillian Anderson’s no-nonsense spy lady boss Wendy.
Kunis and McKinnon have solid chemistry. But if you’re in it for the jokes, be prepared instead for blood, in the form of graphic headshots, bones breaking, and general gratuitous violence.
To see more of the cast improvising, check out the hilarious game we played with them.
As a bonus, the two male leads weigh in on their favorite James Bond.