The Spy Who Dumped Me movie review: This forced buddy film tumbles over its own attempts at parody

Mihir Fadnavis

August 11, 2018 10:58:42 IST


Okay we get it – The Spy Who Dumped Me is wordplay on The Spy Who Loved Me. So is the film an incisive enough satire of spy film clichés? Sadly, the answer is a no - this is a film that tumbles over its own attempts at parody, falling into the trapdoors of the very genre it is trying to make a comedic subversion of.

Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis in a still from The Spy Who Dumped Me. YouTube

Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis in a still from The Spy Who Dumped Me. YouTube

Audrey (Mila Kunis) has recently broken up and is down in the dumps. Her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) – an actress tries to help her get over her blues but things do not seem to be working out so well. So naturally, something insane happens – her ex boyfriend (Justin Theroux) turns out to be a spy who has hidden some super secret pen drive inside a fantasy football trophy, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) need to get their hands on it. Audrey and Morgan are threatened by shady assassins and end up in an misadventure that takes them to typically exotic places for secretive missions and car chases.

There are plenty of issues with the film – the foremost being it not being the least bit funny despite McKinnon taking center stage. Director Susanna Fogel relies on lame slapstick sight gags, shouting women and awfully put together action set pieces for humour – and every single element falls quite flat. It does feel like a Saturday Night Live! sketch stretched out to a film, particularly during the moments when the movie attempts to crank out cheap laughs during the serious situations and action beats. This needed to be a self aware comedy in the vein of 21 Jump Street, but ends up like an even worse version of A Night at the Roxbury, in that it does not quite know what to do with so much talent put together.

The other big problem is that there is a strange sense of little love being lost between Kunis and McKinnon - there is not a single moment where you believe that their characters are friends. They both seem like they are robotically going through the motions, perhaps aware of the substandard script that somehow graduated into a movie. Perhaps the filmmakers were hoping for some improv comedy especially with McKinnon in the lead and they were not quite able to pull it off. The supporting cast is full of recognisable faces – like Hassan Minhaj and Gillian Anderson but they are so inert and ineffective it is frustrating.

With a 120-minute runtime, this is at least an hour longer than it needed to be, and no amount of fart jokes coming from women help in keeping things interesting. It is also not stupid or silly enough to appreciate and breeze through as a harmless stoner movie. Morgan’s last name turns out to be Freeman – and that sadly turns out to be the funniest bit in the whole film. If you are in the mood for an indolent piece of entertainment with more comedic gems like these, you may enjoy this film; but you are better off waiting for a film that gives McKinnon the script that she deserves.

Updated Date: Aug 11, 2018 10:58 AM