Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon play a pair of Los Angeles besties who get caught up in an international conspiracy thanks to a spy ex-boyfriend in “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” an uneven and overlong genre mash-up that’s too much Bond and not enough “Bridesmaids.”
Directed by Susanna Fogel from a script she co-wrote with David Iserson, this sporadically funny spy flick takes its action sequences a lot more seriously than most action comedies, and while this dedication to high-octane thrills reaps some dividends, the entire affair feels misguided from the jump. At its best when emphasizing the friendship between Kunis and McKinnon’s characters, and the crazy fish out of water circumstances they find themselves embroiled in, the convoluted plot quickly grows tiresome, and the unassured tone causes you to question the entire affair. Thankfully, the film features Kate McKinnon, one of the industry’s top comediennes, and while her efforts don’t entirely save this genre hybrid, she at least makes the plodding proceedings run a little more smoothly.
“The Spy Who Dumped Me” is centered on Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon), two Los Angeles-based best friends who lead fairly regular lives, or so they think. Coming off a text breakup with her supposedly boring boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux), Audrey is stunned when he shows up at her apartment one day with a bunch of deadly assassins in hot pursuit.
Now in possession of a highly coveted flash drive, Audrey and Morgan jet off to Europe in search of answers. It doesn’t take long for them to be hunted by a host of assassins across several European capitals, with some agents, like British spy Sebastian (Sam Heughan) purporting to be on their side while others, like the coldblooded Russian gymnast assassin Nadedja (Ivanna Sakhno), clearly thirsting for blood. Cue the gunfights, slo-mo car chases and acrobatic fight scenes on a trapeze bar.
Although “The Spy Who Dumped Me” is far from the first spy comedy to hit movie theaters, it is likely the first whose approach favors the action over the comedy, and the results are predictably uneven. The espionage elements of Susanna Fogel and David Iserson’s screenplay are not only overcomplicated but increasingly boring as the plot plays out. And while the action scenes are impressively staged and exceed audience expectations, they fit uneasily into this hodgepodge of genre clichés and hit-and-miss humor.
Playing the smart and seemingly unadventurous Audrey, Mila Kunis fits slightly uneasily into the badass international spy role, though she handles the role’s action and comedic requirements acceptably. Those seeking laughter will find it in spurts from “SNL” comedy queen Kate McKinnon, who goes all out in her portrayal of the struggling actress turned international spy Morgan. It’s certainly not her funniest role to date, but her capacity for physical comedy and unpredictable line deliveries is unparalleled, and those talents are given ample room to shine in this production. Supporting actor Justin Theroux is a welcome if one-note presence as the spy ex-boyfriend Drew, while Gillian Anderson is an absolute delight, particularly when playing off McKinnon, as the calculating spy boss Wendy.
“The Spy Who Dumped Me” is a spy comedy with an identity crisis.
By Lucas Mirabella
Running Time: 117 minutes
Rated R for language, violence throughout, some crude sexual material and graphic nudity.