Long-time best friends Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) get tangled up in an international conspiracy and terrorist investigation when it is revealed to Audrey that her former beau, Drew (Justin Theroux), was a CIA operative. The Spy Who Dumped Me, directed by Susanna Fogel, is a straightforward summer action comedy with some pleasant surprises throughout. For one, the film begins with an intriguing action sequence in which Drew rushes through a marketplace in Lithuania to rid himself of dangerous assailants. An immediate cut to Audrey at a bar with friends to celebrate her birthday quickly sets the tone of the movie as a vivacious adventure with genuine laughs and creative direction.
Audrey, a young woman with no particular direction in her life, has recently been dumped by her boyfriend Drew. Morgan, on the other hand, is an exuberant, free spirit who chooses to live in the moment and sees no problems with doing so. Together, they make a heartwarming, best-friend duo that is charming and necessary under the film’s comedic core. When the two come face-to-face with Drew again, Audrey is hungry for answers to her questions, but what she gets in return becomes a complicated series of life-or-death situations.
One of the very best aspects of The Spy Who Dumped Me comes from Susanna Fogel’s creative direction. While the film certainly sticks to its comedic tone and roots, it is the action sequences that stand out the most. Fogel balances up-close/tight configurations with expanded frameworks that offer intricate and inventive vantage points. Additionally, there is an even distribution of stylized fight choreography and danger manifested by meticulous injuries and blood splatter within these scenes. Essentially, the film doesn’t stay in its humor box and appreciates the nature of the spy world.
As the movie progresses, it becomes clear that there is a prevalent message about sisterhood that sometimes takes a backseat to its comedy and action; but when it surfaces, it’s very satisfying and doesn’t feel overdone. Furthermore, at any chance it gets, the film capitalizes on its opportunities to speak about feminism, and it is done well. It is incorporated in the dialogue in a way that doesn’t feel preachy or outlandish. Rather, the film maintains its humorous edge yet it discloses some standard commentary about how to treat women.
While there are several laughs to be had, there are, unfortunately, some over-ambitious moments in the film. Towards the end, Fogel struggles with certain scenes as they are not up to the same quality as others. There also seemed to be a difficulty with closing out the story as its ending feels abrupt and indecisive – especially after all of the great build-up. It certainly doesn’t ruin the entire film, but it seems like there was an attempt at shock-value, though the audience is sure to see the ending coming. As far as the acting goes, Kate McKinnon once again proves that her comedic timing and delivery of jokes is of very high caliber. Watching her on screen is somewhat addicting, and it makes you wonder how much of it is improvisation. Mila Kunis, on the other hand, felt like she held back or was restricting herself on some of the emotional scenes of the film. In the moments, it would’ve enhanced the serious nature of the scenes, but most fell flat because of this. Still, it’s not enough to ruin the entire experience.
In the end, The Spy Who Dumped Me is an amusing and thrilling comedy with frequent jokes that land and action sequences that soar beyond expectations. The two stars, Kunis and McKinnon, share great chemistry that is both heartwarming and entertaining. With a predictable ending, the film falls short of what it could have been, but with bold action and interesting dynamics between supporting characters, it’ll keep you entertained!