Oh my fucking god. Apparently, The Spy Who Dumped Me is a comedy. A vehicle written to make one laugh. Someone – Susanna Fogel and David Iserson – deliberately wrote this film. Fogel also directs, more on that later.
The Spy Who Dumped Me, a somewhat misleading title, sees Audrey (Mila Kunis) and her best friend Morgan Freeman (Kate McKinnon) – yes, she is called Morgan Freeman. Haha. NO – on the run across Europe after Audrey’s ex, Drew (Justin Theroux) turns out to be a CIA operative who leaves information on a thumb drive that he left with Audrey before he disappeared.
When Audrey threatens to burn his belongings after being ghosted by him, Drew returns and is killed whilst trying to retrieve the drive. Before he is killed, he tells Audrey to take the drive to Prague, Austria. Now targets of, well, everyone, Audrey and Morgan are forced to flee America, unsure who to trust.
What follows is a laborious, plodding, alledged comedy, with a lazy script and predictable premise, this film throws everything at you and it all misses. I have a pretty low bar for comedy. I enjoyed Melissa McCarthy’s Tammy. Like I say, low bar.
That two people wrote this film is amazing to me. That means that they both found this film funny. They laughed at this. I don’t get it. I’m not sure if it is the writing or the directing that ruins the film, though I think the poor script probably edges it. In comedy, casting is all important and this film is, at first glance, pretty well cast.
Mila Kunis’ comedy chops are not in question. She is an excellent actress in both serious and comedic roles. She was suitably opaque and a believable rival to Natalie Portman’s struggling ballerina in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan. She is already assured comic legend status after her years of voice work on the seminal Family Guy.
Kate McKinnon is a stand-up comedienne and regular on Saturday Night Live, a show that has launched the careers of many a film comedian. She was also in Ghostbusters, the all-female remake of the eighties comedy, and though it was not widely loved, she was funny in it.
Justin Theroux, who is a respected actor and has been in far better fare than this, was in the fantastic The Girl On The Train. He can act.
At just under two hours long, it cannot even be said that the film is overly long, though I did check several times to see how much runtime was left in the film. It really is not funny and the story, such that it is, is not engaging at all. You really do not care about the flash drive or their shenanigans.
There is an introduction of an evil assassin, Nadenja (Ivanna Sakhno) who drives – the best thing in the film – a silver Ferrari. She is a stereotypical, beautiful, unsmiling eastern European, her apparent emotionless demeanour meant to contrast with the panicked, expressiveness of the two American women. Hilarious.
This film had a budget of some forty million dollars. Forty. Million. Dollars. It was shot in four locations and had a massive cast. Of the cast, only Gillian Anderson as Wendy, the boss at MI6, comes out of the film with her reputation unblemished.
Visually, the film is fine. Everything is, as one would expect on such a large budget comedy, competently shot, though strangely they seem to have decided to go with a colder, bluish look for the film, more of an Atomic Blonde vibe than what you would expect with a comedy.
Paul Reiser and Jane Curtin are both in this, as McKinnon’s parents, Arnie and Carol. Reiser and Curtin are practically comedy royalty and even they suffer in this nonsense.
I think that the films mostly suffers from Fogel’s directing. McKinnon, an actress already prone to over-acting, is allowed too much latitude and tries almost too hard to make her role work. With the patently unfunny script, the actors are constantly fighting an uphill battle to make it work. It proves beyond them.
I will say that the fight and shootout scenes are quite good. Perhaps Fogel should direct action films. The Spy Who Dumped Me is a terrible film and not at all funny. It is two hours of my life I will never get back.