Director: Susanna Fogel
Starring: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Gillian Anderson, Sam Heughan, Hasan Minhaj, Ivanna Sakhno, Jane Curtin, Paul Reiser
Written by: Susanna Fogel and David Iserson
Running Time: 117 mins
Release date: 22nd August 2018
Trying to balance an action comedy can be a tricky thing. You have to have enough strong laughs to sometimes cover the ludicrous of the action. What you don’t want is the action to be too violent otherwise it will overshadow the comedy. That is what happens to The Spy Who Dumped Me, a comedy with some incredibly brutal action scenes that is let down by jokes that fall flat. It also lets down it’s two talented leads.
Audrey has been dumped by a boyfriend who disappeared without even answering her texts. He turns up on her doorstep with a bunch of assassins on his case. With a plastic trophy and her best friend, Morgan, Audrey finds out that her ex was a spy with information that could save millions of people and she must deliver it in Europe. The two women head to Austria and find themselves entangled in an international conspiracy where no one can be trusted but themselves.
Director and co-writer Susanna Fogel has everything in place for an enjoyable romp, which places two female comedy actresses at the heart of an action-packed adventure. Cue plenty of female bonding while the bullets fly. The problem is the film’s tone is all over the place, with a script that often doesn’t make sense and scenes are set up just for another set piece.
The action sequences, which there are a lot of, are incredibly violent. Far more violent than an action comedy should have. From the opening sequences where we follow spy, Drew, being chased through the streets by hoodlums, every punch, bone-break and bullet shot is loud and in your face. This is a film which seems to have taken its fight sequences from Bourne or The Transporter but extreme. People get knives through their arms, impaled on sharp object, even a thumb cut off. Not your usual fare for a film advertised as a buddy comedy.
Once you have managed to stomach the graphic violence, you then have the comedy aspect, which seems to sit uncomfortably among the action. The jokes just don’t seem to work. There is a lot of screaming and shouting, with the occasional throw-away line as the girls dodge killers and double-crossers but most are said at such a breakneck pace, you lose the humour over the noise.
Which is a shame because Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon are very funny women when given the right material. Sadly, this isn’t it. There is the odd occasion when a joke hits the target and the pair seem to have really got on and you believe they are best friends but they are serviced very badly by the script. Even the scenes where they seem to have a little more freedom aren’t quite as funny as they could have been and even McKinnon’s usually off-kilt humour is lost.
The Spy Who Dumped Me isn’t terrible and if you like tough action sequences, you enjoy it and Fogel certainly shows a flair for directing set pieces but this film isn’t aimed at blokes looking for a new Bond. This is aimed at those who liked Bridesmaids and Bad Moms but it might prove too brutal for them. Put Kunis and McKinnon together again but leave the violence aside and allow them to do what they do best: be funny.