Film Review: The Spy Who Dumped MeMila Kunis and Kate McKinnon have fun on the run in this spy-movie farce.
Can someone please give Kate McKinnon her own movie?
The uninhibited comic has long been the real center of “Saturday Night Live,” but so far Hollywood has chiefly stuck her in supporting roles. She’s always the most-valuable-player, of course—she singlehandedly gave Rough Night and the Ghostbusters re-do whatever life they had—but you miss her every time she’s off the field.
It makes sense, in a way. McKinnon is one of those actors, like Jim Carrey, who’s determined to make you laugh—by any means necessary—and she’ll keep trying until you do. She doesn’t have an “off” switch, and you can understand a filmmaker—or a lead actress—worrying McKinnon might be too much.
But for McKinnon fans, too much is never enough. You always want more.
We get it in The Spy Who Dumped Me, thankfully, which promotes her to second-lead status. In the espionage spoof, she’s Morgan, the extroverted bestie of Mila Kunis’ shy Audrey. They’re commiserating over Audrey’s recent breakup, when Audrey’s emotionally withholding ex suddenly shows up—with foreign assassins in pursuit. Seems he isn’t just secretive. He’s a secret agent.
But for which side? That’s hard to tell once the CIA gets involved, and Audrey and Morgan flee to Europe, with both sets of spies after them and Hollywood’s weirdest MacGuffin—a souvenir-store trophy that everyone’s after—in their hot little hands.
It’s a deliriously silly, often preposterous movie—really, Morgan and Audrey just happened to keep their passports in the glove compartment?—but director Susanna Fogel keeps things moving too quickly to leave much time for complaints.
Although Fogel’s credits are mostly small-screen, she has no fear of big action sequences, either. When Audrey’s beau Justin Theroux is shooting it out with his enemies, the frame explodes with fast-cut action. A showdown in a Viennese pastry shop makes sure to use everything—even the coffee machines—as possibly lethal props.
Like the Bond films it satirizes, The Spy Who Dumped Me is also full of slick European locales, strong supporting actors and living lethal weapons—like the failed gymnast turned cartwheeling killer. All it’s really missing is a wild opening-credits sequence scored to a snazzy pop song (but then, Deadpool 2 got there first this year, anyway).
As a dapper English agent, Sam Heughan is merely bland (one of the toughest things about female-driven movies is getting top male stars to sign on). But Jane Curtin and Paul Reiser are delightful as Morgan’s kvetching parents, and an elegantly icy Gillian Anderson impresses as the head of the British Secret Service. (If they’re looking to reboot the Bond franchise after Daniel Craig leaves, they could do worse than bringing her on as M. Or, maybe, even 007.)
Stubbornly silly and guiltlessly lightweight, The Spy Who Dumped Me is the sort of summer film that would probably improve with a margarita or two beforehand. It’d certainly be better if it were a bit shorter; it runs about ten minutes too long, with most of that taken up with flashbacks to how Audrey and her spy guy first met. Kunis is effortlessly appealing, but really, who cares about their first date or her eventual hurt feelings?
We just want goofy action. And McKinnon, as always, doing whatever it takes to get a laugh—and then doing a little more.