Directed by Susanna Fogel
Starring – Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Sam Heughan
The Plot – Audrey (Kunis) and Morgan (McKinnon), two thirty-year-old best friends in Los Angeles, are thrust unexpectedly into an international conspiracy when Audrey’s ex-boyfriend shows up at their apartment with a team of deadly assassins on his trail. Surprising even themselves, the duo jump into action, on the run throughout Europe from assassins and a suspicious-but-charming British agent, as they hatch a plan to save the world.
Rated R for violence, adult language throughout, some crude sexual material and graphic nudity
– Where this film would work and actually receive a passing grade from me, is the action. This is a solid action film that was spoon-forced to be a comedy, and it’s in those action elements where this movie greatly surprised me. Aside from exciting and well telegraphed sequences, the film is unforgivable in its never-ending violence, making the most of its coveted R-rating to satisfy the gore hound in all of us. It at least kept me awake through a movie that otherwise bored the hell out of me.
– In addition to the action, the sound design and overall mixing is riveting. When this film comes out, it greatly deserves the IMAX or XD options, because it rattles the auditorium with every pulse-setting crunch that the mayhem can muster. Most notably through a car chase sequence through downtown Prague, the volume of carnage flew high over the uninspired musical score, giving me many moments of wincing when the building blow finally landed.
– Female empowerment. The film does at least succeed in its message of manufacturing a product for the ladies that is full proof with those ladies nights out. With a cast that is female majority, as well as a valuable female antagonist character who kicks ass for all of the right reasons, ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’ at least remains faithful to its strong gender values, even through a finale that almost soiled it all together.
– One of the things that this film does right halfway through the movie, is dump Kunis as the leading lady, and focus a majority of its time more on McKinnon, who while not working with her best material, does at least conjure up the most energy in delivery to this picture. Kate is given such ample time to aim and impress, and whether or not the comedy in the film works for you, you will at least be thankful that a script finally gave her a leading chance to run unopposed.
– What a mess of muddled storytelling. The film follows two on-going narratives, one for the modern day unraveling story, and one for the night Kunis and her male spy suitor met in a dive bar. The reason for this decision not only adds nothing of shock value or discovery for us the audience, but disjoints the hell out of the transition edits between them, requiring you to take a minute to remember that the latter story is unfortunately still continuing.
– If you can’t get the comedy right in an action comedy, you will have one boring film, and that’s what we’re left with here. The humor in this film isn’t just bad, it’s downright humiliating, throwing out a combination of god awful puns and animated delivery of dialogue that never feels authentic or earned. I managed to remember my two most offensive puns because they burned in my memory like a childhood trauma. The first involves Kunis character holding up a severed thumb with Mckinnon chiming in “Thumbs up”. The second, and one that gave me hard edge proof that God doesn’t exist, is a scene with Mckinnon dressed in an awful ensemble, and Kunis says to her “You look like a French curtain”, to which Mckinnon replies “Because I can hanggggg”.
– Too many twists. While you can easily predict where this story is headed, you find yourself weighed down heavily by the ridiculousness in ever-changing scenarios that don’t make sense the more you think about them. This is a 107 minute movie that shouldn’t be a minute over 90, especially when you consider that so much of the second and third acts revolve around the tables turning multiple times, diminishing the returns and shock value greatly, because the film goes to this well too many times.
– The ladies begin their foreign adventure after taking a flight from Los Angeles. The problem is that they do it spontaneously, so on the very hour that they are flying out, they not only manage to easily navigate their way through the busiest airport in the country, but also manage to find two tickets next to each other for a flight that is minutes away. Imagine the coincidence. I certainly can’t.
– My biggest problem with the casting of Kunis and Mckinnon isn’t so much that they lack any kind of chemistry between them, but rather how unconvincing they both feel in these particular roles. As characters, these are any typical woman disappointed by life and the curves that it continuously throws. Because the film is in a hurry during the first act, we are never offered a shade of depth or development between them that makes you empathize with their danger or at the very least Kunis’s on-screen break-up (That amazingly enough we never see). Kunis and Mckinnon never make the roles their own, and it leads you to believe that any two leading ladies in Hollywood could easily come in and do as good, if not a better, job than these two.
– Noticeably negative production aspects. The Green-screen backdrops during the driving sequences make the outline of the characters stick out like a third-dimension, and the A.D.R is some of the most glaring lack of fluidity that I have seen in 2018. On the latter, there’s a lot of over-the-shoulder shots, and when these happen the volume of the dialogue increases dramatically where it doesn’t feel synthetic with that of the actor they are conversing with. This is just sloppy post production all around, and proves just how much passion was put into a project that serves as nothing but a cheap manipulation for female audience members to spend their money to support girl power.