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The Spy Who Dumped Me – Movie Review

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The Spy Who Dumped Me – Movie Review

Rating: B- (Okay)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy eOne Films

As long as James Bond has used his gadgets and Ethan Hunt has been pulling off impossible missions, the spy movie has never gone out of fashion. Thus, the spy comedy has existed just as long. The Spy Who Dumped Me crosses secret agents with a failed romance and the result delivers some laughs, but the story doesn’t entirely gel as it goes from action scene to action scene. Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon certainly give the roles their all, but the further along it goes, the more convoluted the film becomes. It also runs a little too long, particularly as it sags in the third act.

The Spy Who Dumped Me jumps around quite a bit as it follows the two leads, the multiple secret agents and the villains out to obtain a McGuffin. The film is at its best when focusing on the friendship between Kunis’s Audrey and McKinnon’s Morgan. The two have solid chemistry and believably make for lifelong pals. Every joke that works is due to McKinnon, who continually makes her over-the-top personalities into delightful characters as already proven on Saturday Night Live and in the recent Ghostbusters. The other highlights come from the action sequences, which director Susanna Fogel handles with the necessary fast pacing and strong stunt work. Some people may be surprised by the high body count in this.

The screenplay makes some interesting choices, which don’t always work to the film’s advantage. It uses a number of flashbacks, as we frequently cut back to Audrey and her first meet-cute with her spy ex-boyfriend. It is understandable why those scenes are there, but they interrupt the flow of the movie. The film really hinges on the many spies running around with a CIA agent and a MI6 agent filling the expected roles. There is some fun gained out of how many countries the characters jump to, although the film doesn’t linger on the locations for too long. The movie does get a few laughs out of the familiar “ignorant Americans in European soil” concept.

It is appreciative how the film doesn’t neuter itself in order to get a less restrictive rating. While there are gore splats, F-bombs and even a ball sack shot, these don’t feel gratuitous and appearing merely for shock value. At almost two hours, the jokes begin to run out of steam after a while. The last act is particularly a slog, as the film continually attempts to throw surprises at us. Most of the interest comes from awaiting what funny line Kate McKinnon will say, more-so than any story thread. The audience does get to see some impressive gymnastics in the climax, though.

The Spy Who Dumped Me has its share of funny moments, but doesn’t bring that much more to the table outside of some nice sight seeing of Europe. Kate McKinnon ends up running away with the picture and it makes one wonder when she will get a starring role in a big comedy, as she is mostly relegated to playing the scene-stealing second fiddle in her films. There are definitely parts when it seems like we’re watching Susanna Fogel’s audition tape for a James Bond or Mission: Impossible movie and she would certainly be a solid choice to take on those series.

 

Stefan Ellison
THE SCENE


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