RogerBW's Blog

The Spy Who Dumped Me 17 December 2020

2018 action comedy, dir. Susanna Fogel, Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon: IMDb / allmovie.

Drew dumped Audrey by text message a few days ago… then two men claiming to be from the CIA interrogate her… then Drew comes in suddenly through her window. Then he gets shot by someone her roommate Morgan picked up the night before…

It's a boring title that hides a surprisingly solid story. Of course we've seen this kind of thing before: ordinary person has to try to live in Espionage World, hijinks ensue. (For just two examples, see the execrable Spy (2015) and last year's rather better Charlie's Angels.) But this one makes a decent fist of it, in large part because of the charm of its leads: Kunis plays the "normal" one, McKinnon the wacky best friend, but their characters do feel as if they could actually be friends in spite of their significant differences in outlook. While much of the humour seems forced to me ("what if we put them in this situation?") some of it flows from the justaposition of the people they are with the problems among which they find themselves.

It is perhaps a little lacking in the villain department; Ivanna Sakhno does a decent job as a psychotic gymnast/assassin, but there's a narrative choice about the primary villain which makes it difficult to make them properly gloaty-evil. I can see why Fogel (directing her own script) did it that way, and it works to provide the desired effect, but it does feel as though there's a small something missing.

Unusually for a comedy, the violence is honest and bloody and vicious, not the standard "ooh he got hit in the crotch" cartoonishness. I think this disconcerted many viewers, and it doesn't sit well with the forced jokes, but it goes perfectly with the character-based comedy.

And for every clichéd USB stick containing "a back door to the entire Internet" there's a sudden perfect moment of, for example, the Pink Panther Theme playing in the background. There's nothing amazing here, but it gets the job done competently.

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See also:
Charlie's Angels (2019)

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