When you work at the dollar store and spend your nights drinking beer at the bar, there’s not much excitement in your life. Lucky for you, your ex-boyfriend turns out to be a spy that a terrorist organization is looking for, so you have to flee to Europe to finish his mission. Written and directed by Susanna Fogel, “The Spy Who Dumped Me” is a tragic action-comedy that had the potential to be a box office hit, but instead just fell flat.
Audrey, played by Mila Kunis, and Morgan, played by Kate McKinnon, play two American women that are foolish enough to travel to Europe with an evil syndicate chasing after them. After being dumped by boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux), Audrey becomes caught up in her ex’s secret spy life. Drew tells her to deliver a package at a café in Vienna or thousands of people will die. With help from her entertaining sidekick Morgan, the female duo throw themselves into the spy world, diving in without thinking about their actions.
Through sheer luck and hints of intelligence, Audrey and Morgan are able to outsmart MI6 operatives, murder assassins and drive cars like they were born to be international spies. In keeping the package safe, Audrey and Morgan are left wondering who they can and can’t trust as every spy seems to be a double agent and lying behind their backs. Unfortunately, “The Spy Who Dumped Me” has nothing to do with delivering a package. The two women get lost in the plot just as much as they aimlessly run around Europe.
Drew breaks up with Audrey over text, which is how quickly you will drop this mediocre action-comedy. The well-performed and slick action scenes overcompensate for the film’s lackluster comedic blends where McKinnon’s “ SNL” background comes to save the day in this unhinged two-hour flick.
The car chase and sequenced fight scenes are thrilling to watch, but the jokes aren’t on the same page. The small comedy skits seem to drag on too long and become more of an annoyance than a laughable moment. Fortunately, the best bursts of comedic gold came from the punchlines that McKinnon usually sells to her stand-up audiences.
The concept of “The Spy Who Dumped Me” is reminiscent of Melissa McCarthy’s successful action-comedy “Spy” in 2015. However, Fogel’s film just doesn’t hit the mark. Unlike the witty comebacks and hilarious LOL scenes in “Spy,” the set up for jokes in “The Spy Who Dumped Me” doesn’t flow well between scenes. Instead, the film provides a chuckle here and there, but not an overall funny movie to laugh about later.
At the very least, “The Spy Who Dumped Me” fulfills the basic necessities of any action-comedy: a sexy MI6 agent (usually male) and run-of-the-mill lead characters who don’t know how to play it cool. However, the film runs a thin plot with many holes that are never filled in. The package seems to play a large role in the narrative, but loses meaning toward the end of the film. Additionally, there are several plot holes and questions left unanswered.
Like Audrey and Morgan, I don’t know who to side with and trust. Even though that’s one of the premises of the film, to figure out who to trust and not trust, I was more confused at the end than I was at the beginning of the movie. Instead of showing major plot twists in the film, they pile up on top of each other before falling to the floor, providing more confusion than shock.
While Kunis is portrayed as the movie’s heroine, it was McKinnon that held the humor together throughout the film. Although Kunis had fairly good comedic timing with the right set up, it was completely overshadowed by McKinnon’s free-body personality. Morgan’s flamboyant attitude toward everyone she meets in addition to her no-fear act to save her friend makes her the life of the party and only source of comedy in this film.
Even in comedies, character development is present, but in “The Spy Who Dumped Me,” it became more of a disappointment. Flashbacks from the night Audrey and Drew first met tried to depict some sort of development in their relationship, but those flashbacks proved irrelevant to the film’s plot. There was also little growth in Kunis and McKinnon’s characters because the film focused more on the action and cinematography rather than actual content, which gives a movie its substance.
Individually, Audrey and Morgan had some quick-witted moments when faced with the enemy, but they never learned from their mistakes. Audrey and Morgan’s relationship showed no growth (or conflict) as real friendships do. In the film, neither character even got into a fight with the other, and while this might seem like a good thing, conflict between characters in a relationship often provide plot and character development that makes a movie enjoyable. However, none of that was seen in this film.
From attempting to swallow the mysterious package to running away in a stick-shift when neither character knew how to drive one, “The Spy Who Dumped Me” felt like a handful of funny moments that were strung together by a thread. The film almost seemed like an improv show touring Europe that got worse as the show went on. There are some laugh out loud one-liners, but overall there is no flow, direction or purpose in this let-down film.