Home / REVIEWS / The Spy Who Dumped Me hits the target when Kate McKinnon is on screen

The Spy Who Dumped Me hits the target when Kate McKinnon is on screen

Female buddy films aren’t common, so it’s welcome to have a few trickle in. Following The Heat from five years ago is the Spy Who Dumped Me, an action comedy pairing Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon.

Swept up in a Europe-trotting caper that mainly showcases McKinnon’s weird and wonderful improv talent, it’s the stars who make the package. Sadly, the equally improvised plot isn’t so fun.

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Kate McKinnon (left) and buddy Mila Kunis.


Lionsgate

Kunis’ Audrey, a complacent store worker hung up on not being able to finish anything, and McKinnon’s “over-the-top” Morgan, spend most of the time in various elaborate shoot-’em-up scenarios. The spy carrying out the dumping is Drew (Justin Theroux), an ex-CIA agent who doesn’t quite make sense: he leaves Audrey to protect her, then turns on her when she proves she can handle the spy world. A mysterious big baddie gets a few mentions, but no screen time. Who is he? A sequel might tell.

The confusion continues: Audrey and Morgan take a spy adventure in Europe on a whim. They want to carry out Drew’s wishes — deliver a very important fantasy football trophy to Vienna — risking their lives for a not-particularly-charming ex-boyfriend they’ve just learned was a secret agent. Characters here will make snap decisions based on throwaway comments, and while it’s nice to see two friends who’ll do anything for each other, some of their decisions are implausible.

The Spy Who Dumped Me Day 12

Gillian Anderson plays MI5 leader Wendy.


Hopper Stone/SMPSP

The tone hops between gross out comedy, arbitrary romance and bone-cracking violence. A taster: A pause in the bathroom between Audrey and suave British MI5 spy Sebastian (Sam Heughan) is interrupted by a giant-sized backpacker loudly relieving himself in the toilet. From car chases to a bizarre killer gymnast (Ivanna Sakhno) torture scene, Audrey and Morgan prove they can handle anything. They scream when people are shot dead, then swiftly carry on.

Moments where our wannabe action heroes haphazardly survive dangerous situations are the highlights, along with details of the friendship between Audrey and Morgan — there’s a brilliant scene where their text messages are revealed on national news. Kunis is McKinnon’s necessary yet likeable “straight man”, laughing whether scripted or not at McKinnon’s perfectly-timed wisecracks. She’s also the one shoehorned into a romance much less interesting than the best friend relationship.

It’s worth noting the real-life history between Kate McKinnon and very cool addition Gillian Anderson as ice-cold MI5 leader Wendy. McKinnon made her obsession with Anderson loud and public in a 2008 YouTube video, so scenes with Morgan fangirling over Wendy have an extra layer for those in the know.

A twist in the tail and characters who try to come to personal resolutions won’t be enough to get us to call The Spy Who Dumped Me back. Unless you’re a McKinnon fan — then her standout performance anchors the chaos and you can forgive the rest.

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