The Spy Who Dumped Me
Jacob Richardson | 08/08/2018
Not perfect, but undoubtedly funny and surprisingly action-filled.
When Audrey’s (Mila Kunis) ex-boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux) breaks up with her via text, her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) agrees with her that he is an epic asshole. That is, until they discover that he is actually a spy, and needs their help to deliver a mysterious hard drive halfway across the world, with spies and terrorists on their tail, trying to kill them. Thus ensues a country hopping spy saga, as the two hapless, everyday women find themselves consistently avoiding life-threatening danger everywhere from in an Uber, to a crowded hostel, to a circus trapeze.
Spy Who Dumped Me suffers from a range of problems. Jokes regularly don’t land, are too long, or just aren’t there at all. The dialogue is weak, and the plotting is so ham-fisted you’ll see surprises not only coming a mile off, but also in direct contradiction to any logic or sense. Indeed, director Susanna Fogel seems more interested in focusing on delivering as many jokes as humanly possible while cramming in action scene after action scene than she does in delivering an intriguing spy story with any credible plot line.
This can be seen not only in the surprise twists, but in the central conceit. The hard drive’s purpose (the reason all of these bad guys and good guys want it so badly) is so poorly explained, with such callous indifference, that it may as well have gone unspoken. It’s this, most of all, that shows you this movie doesn’t care about you as a discerning moviegoer interested in good story. It only cares about two things; making you laugh, and gasp.
On the former count, it is relatively successful. While plenty of gags fall flat, plenty also have you in stitches. McKinnon, in particular, utilises her incredible comic timing, honed in the fires of SNL, to deliver consistent laughs throughout the piece. Her chemistry with Kunis, too, is undeniable and even Theroux brings a roguish charm that Kunis finds humour playing off.
On the latter, it is surprisingly even more successful. Fogel ramps up the action, sometimes so brutally as to cause gasps. An ingenious, hilarious and frequently shocking car chase through the streets of Vienna is of particular note - bringing to the fore through choreography and direction the shocking horror these two, previously hitherto unexposed to such violence, are now enduring. While it ratchets up the tension with its action, it also doubles down on the humour, and that is when the film is at its best.
It makes Spy Who Dumped Me an easy, relatively enthralling ride. Fogel plays it safe, undoubtedly, but even still manages to entertain.
Spy Who Dumped Me will surprise you with how good its action sequences are, and how funny it remains despite its non-existent plot.