The genre-bending action comedy, The Spy Who Dumped Me, allows for Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon to take it to the next level.
The film’s cold open sets the tone, introducing us to Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) on the former’s birthday in Los Angeles while Drew (Justin Theroux) fights for his life in Vilnius. In addition to the cuts between the two, there’s the requisite flashbacks introducing us to their meet-cute. This also serves to develop Drew as a character because face it, there’s not much to his purpose otherwise.
When Drew goes missing, British agent Sebastian Henshaw (Sam Heughan) and Harvard grad Topher Duffer (Hasan Minhaj) track down Audrey at her workplace because they know Drew has something that they want. The question is what is it that’s so important and why would she know what it is? The other question is if they are who they say they are. Once Drew returns to apartment, the hysterics take a notch up to the next level. He gives Audrey and Morgan explicit instructions to meet his contact at a cafe in Vienna, which leads to a great set piece seeing a lot of action. He also tells them not to trust anyone. Amid the car chases, Audrey still puts on the turn signal because old habits die hard.
Just about everyone is after the two American women, including gymnast-turned-assassin Nadedja (Ivanna Sakhno). Audrey and Morgan are essentially in a Bond film, only they are among the last people you would expect to find in such a film. This is the genius of screenwriters Susanna Fogel and David Iserson. What they’ve done is combine the buddy comedy by placing these two women within a spy film. They are among the very last people you’d expect to find in an action film! It doesn’t hurt that Kunis and McKinnon are given room to improvise either. Morgan isn’t afraid to refer to British spy chief Wendy (Gillian Anderson) as a “real life Judi Dench.”
When it comes to Sebastian, you can sense that he’s unlike his partner. If Topher had his way, he’d probably blow them to smithereens. With Sebastian, it’s as if he actually cares for them. With the way that Sam Heughan plays the part, he very well could be auditioning to replace Daniel Craig as James Bond.
Susanna Fogel’s career isn’t heavy on the action genre, let alone studio films. This doesn’t stop the filmmaker from doing a fantastic job with the genre. Whether it’s the car chases or an epic trapeze battle, Fogel gives us everything. There are so many set pieces but Fogel is able to capture it so beautifully. Yeah, there’s the Mission: Impossible references but it’s all in good fun. There’s a lot about Morgan that are best off being left out of a review and just experiencing it first hand in the theaters. The payoffs and laughs are most definitely worth it.
The Spy Who Dumped Me provides some kick-ass fun with talented female leads as summer starts to wind down. it’s only a matter of time before the inevitable sequel gets the green light.
DIRECTOR: Susanna Fogel
SCREENWRITERS: Susanna Fogel & David Iserson
CAST: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Gillian Anderson, Hasan Minhaj, Ivanna Sakhno, and Sam Heughan