When entering a film of this nature you need to understand a few things; this film is not designed to be an intellectually rewarding comedy, it is also not going to have a plot that leaves your head spinning in glorious ways as you leave the cinema – this is a quick and simple action comedy with the intention of getting out easy laughs, but this does not mean it should not be judged at the same level of quality as other well-made “quick laugh” movies.
The Spy Who Dumped Me follows the story of two women; Audrey (Mila Kunis), a lost woman who just got dumped by her boyfriend (who happened to be a spy) – Audrey finds this out and attempts to get to the bottom of it all, alongside her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon).
What about the comedy? Well, the characters throughout this film aren’t exactly interesting and many of the jokes they make don’t quite hit that punchline as much as they’d like to. It is all in the interactions; the interactions that the characters have with one-another are almost always the best part of a comedy. Saying something funny isn’t nearly as hysterical as reacting in funny ways to odd situations. Verbal jokes need to build and need a punchline that hits well (which they often don’t). I felt like if this film had used expressive humour more we may have a decent comedy on our hands. The Spy Who Dumped Me is absolutely as corny as it sounds, but does that mean it’s bad? Well, maybe, but it has its quirks, from the surprisingly well shot action sequences to the banter between characters, there are some genuine chuckles to be had.
However, much like the lead character, this film didn’t quite know what it is, and that was a major fault as the runtime began to drag; the sense of direction this film was taking left me feeling like it wouldn’t build to a satisfying conclusion, an assumption that was confirmed. This messy pace threw off the entire flow of the film and when the humour is often a little dry alongside it then it can lead to a film feeling extra long.
Mila Kunis can certainly act, but her range is showing its limits when she performs in these types of stories, it becomes difficult to distinguish her from her character in say Bad Moms 2 (2017) – as her personality and mannerisms remain very similar. Kate McKinnon has become one of the easier to handle comedy actresses that have come into the spotlight in recent years, while her character can be sometimes be insufferable, her performance mitigates these annoying qualities by a large margin; McKinnon plays the dim-witted friend in a lot of films, I hope to see her expand a little more into more diverse roles.
While the story faltered in its own areas, the action sequences provided some surprising expertise; that’s not to say the action was great, it was just much better than one would expect from a comedy of this nature and it’s clear that director Sussana Fogel at least tried and did what she could to provide some quality action without skimping. Visually this film is stable, we aren’t offered interesting and creative shots like what was seen in Game Night (2018) – but we do get some sequences that are admittedly well filmed.
The Spy Who Dumped Me is absolutely formulaic and full of shaky storytelling, but director Sussana Fogel did what she could with her own experience to provide a little bit more than the average action comedy, and while I can’t say she did a great job I can admit that she put effort in where many directors would have not. There are few secrets behind this action comedy – but despite its formulaic and transparent story, The Spy Who Dumped Me still manages to offer some laughs and surprising action sequences.