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The Spy Who Dumped Me - Movie Review

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The Spy Who Dumped Me - Movie Review

1 starsIn Hollywood, they say that timing is everything. And in the case of The Spy Who Dumped Me, the timing – whether intentional or otherwise – couldn’t have been any worse. The film releases on the heels of the Tom Cruise action juggernaut, Mission: Impossible – Fallout which shares many similarities; spies, secret agents, double-crosses, terrorists hell-bent on worldwide destruction, and an extended string of action sequences along the way. The big difference though is that The Spy Who Dumped Me never manages the sheer delight of watching its story play out. It isn’t boring, but neither is it very fun.

Perhaps the timing was intentional – as one is spoofing the other – and is not intended to hold up to any degree of comparison, but even so, that’s no excuse for weak writing, anemic characters, and a glaring absence of humor… in a film that bills itself as a broad comedy and stars one of Hollywood’s hottest up-and-coming funny ladies.

"Do yourself a favor and dump this dud before it’s too late. You’ll thank me later."


To its credit, The Spy Who Dumped Me attacks its intention from a genuinely interesting angle. Rather than looking for excitement from heart-pounding, over-the-top action sequences (there’s only one spy franchise that can pull that off), Spy hinges its bet on humor mined from the idea that regular people suddenly thrust into the role of being a spy can be funny. Throw in Kate McKinnon and we should have a sure-fire hit on our hands, right? Nope. It simply doesn’t work.

Mila Kunis and SNL alum Kate McKinnon are Audrey and Morgan, a pair of LA friends who get inadvertently sucked into an international spy ring when Audrey discovers that her boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux) is actually a spy, rather than the hush-toned NPR blogger he has led her to believe.

Their exploits eventually lead them to Vienna, Austria – with a never-ending string of bad guys on their heels – where Audrey must deliver a top-secret trophy (the MacGuffin) to someone named Vern. We don’t know why, they don’t know why, and neither is the why ever satisfactorily explained, but they beat up bad guys in hostels, infiltrate a Viennese circus, and zoom through city streets battling angry motorcyclists in giant action set pieces. Sound familiar? All the while, Kunis doing her best as the put-upon straight man while McKinnon steals most scenes with her whacked-out hamminess. Yet somehow, the two never seem to quite gel despite being in nearly every scene together.

We understand what the filmmakers are doing, it’s just that they don’t do a very good job of it. Director/co-writer Susanna Fogel’s direction and tone are all over the place (both literally and figuratively), with the plot and timeline haphazardly jumping around – via flashbacks – from the U.S to Vienna and back again with, what feels like, no real rhyme or reason. The disruption of flow never lets the film find its step but provides us with ample time for popcorn breaks.

Then there’s the violence. The film is rated R and it wears that badge with pride as blood, violence, language, and vulgarity reign supreme. They ask us to walk that fine line between ghastly horror and uncomfortable laughter. For example, there’s a running gag involving the removal of a poor sap’s thumb so that it can be used to access his stolen iPhone. It is a quite graphic scene and never manages humor beyond its initial exposition. Yet they return to it time and time again. This year’s Game Night did a much better job at pulling off the hard-to-maneuver humor/violence tap-dance, so check out that one instead.

The Spy Who Dumped Me - Movie Review

While McKinnon’s comedic talents can’t be debated, it has yet to be determined if she can make the successful transition to film. Still a small sampling, but a few films in and directors have yet to find a way to utilize her unique brand of kinetic energy and fidgety goofiness. And that goes for The Spy Who Dumped Me as well. She’s way over the top here, and never gets into a groove, and though we get the feeling the role was written that way, it never feels natural. Call me crazy, but her funniest moments are the ones when she's running at full speed down the streets of Vienna. But Tom Cruise, she isn’t.

Sadly, The Spy Who Dumped Me never finds the success it was looking for as the comedic foil to the 500 lb. “Mission” in the next theater over. The script, from Fogel and David Iserson, is never smart enough for that, and with such little humor, it certainly doesn’t pass the comedy test either. Do yourself a favor and dump this dud before it’s too late. You’ll thank me later.

The Spy Who Dumped Me - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for violence, language throughout, some crude sexual material and graphic nudity.
Runtime:
116 mins
Director
: Susanna Fogel
Writer:
Susanna Fogel, David Iserson
Cast:
Justin Theroux, Blanka Györfi-Tóth, Vilma Szécsi
Genre
: Action | Comedy
Tagline:
Minimum Experience. Maximum Damage.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Some bad people are after me. And now they're after you."
Theatrical Distributor:
Lionsgate
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 3, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Audrey and Morgan are best friends who unwittingly become entangled in an international conspiracy when one of the women discovers the boyfriend who dumped her was actually a spy.

The Spy Who Dumped Me - Movie Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

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The Spy Who Dumped Me - Movie Review

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