Movie Review: The Spy Who Dumped Me

Image Source: The New Yorker

Written By: Mark Armstrong

Distributor: Lionsgate
Production Companies: Imagine Entertainment and Lionsgate
Director: Susanna Fogel
Producers: Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins
Scriptwriters: Susanna Fogel and David Iserson
Main Cast: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Sam Heughan and Gillian Anderson
Released: August 3 2018
Running Time: 117 Minutes
Certificate: 15

The Spy Who Dumped Me sounds like a straight-forward parody of a James Bond film. But “straight-forward” is an inappropriate description, because this movie tries to do so much that it’s hard to properly define it; however, in spite of this it’s still an entertaining flick.

We meet Audrey Stockton (Mila Kunis) and her ditzy best friend Morgan Freeman, no not that one (Kate McKinnon plays Morgan here), neither of whom are renowned for their intelligence, but both of whom know what they’re doing when it comes to the opposite sex, and punishing Audrey’s ex Drew Thayer (Justin Theroux) by destroying some of his possessions. But he tells them that he will soon return, because one of those items – a mock trophy – is very valuable. This, at a time when he works for the CIA, something neither of the girls are aware of, and Audrey sees him gunned down before her very eyes. A suspicious man named Sebastian Henshaw (Sam Heughan), an MI6 representative, appears on the scene and becomes an untrustworthy figure to both girls. But because Drew’s last request was to take the trophy to a cafe in Vienna, the girls travel together to Austria’s capital and end up meeting Sebastian again. Because they still don’t trust him, the scene leads to a huge shootout which the girls are lucky to survive.

But they are now targets, with their every move being followed and with them travelling all across Europe to try and escape the perilous situation that they find themselves in. Every time they feel that they are safe, there is another twist and another assassin or group of assassins planning to take them out. Along the way, they learn that it’s actually a flash drive hidden within the trophy that is the truly desirable item, as well as understanding that Sebastian may indeed be trying to protect them. And they learn more about Drew’s background, whilst discovering a shocking truth about his apparent killing.

The plot is occasionally hard to follow, though the underlying message is of Audrey and Morgan showing what they have to offer in the face of those who had previously deemed them irrelevant, and demonstrating courage and toughness in the face of frequent adversity. The interplay between Mila and Kate is the highlight of the movie, and makes it more believable that two seemingly-normal women could hang and even thrive under the most dangerous of circumstances.

As noted, though, it’s hard to truly explain what this movie really is in terms of its genre. It’s classified as a comedy, and there are plenty of funny lines and amusing moments, but it also tries often to play it straight as a full-on action movie, and it even goes down the thriller route with several genuinely scary visuals. Because it tries to cater to each audience, it never fully succeeds in any one of them. The comedy material is strong enough that it would have made this a priceless movie had it stuck to that direction, while the action scenes are sufficient if that had been the chosen path. As it is, though, it feels like three different writers contributed in their own way, resulting in a bit of a muddle. If pushed, I’d describe this as a comedy, but only just.

With strong performances, amusing jokes, striking action scenes, excellent scenery and a deep if complicated plot, The Spy Who Dumped Me is definitely worth watching. But if the producers had settled on one genre rather than splitting the pie, a good film could have been a great one.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 – Good