After being dumped via text by her boyfriend of a year, a cashier named Audrey (Mila Kunis) struggles to celebrate her birthday – even with the enthusiasm and zaniness of bestie and roommate Morgan (Kate McKinnon). The two friends have no idea that Audrey’s ex, Drew (Justin Theroux), is a spy, until they find themselves being abducted, shot at and on the run the following day. The women unwittingly and tactlessly embark on a secret mission they get assigned to, which sees them travel across Europe.
Action comedies provide a far from successful movie line-up, and the genre’s films in recent years have been particularly unimpressive. Mike Myers got it right with the ‘Austin Powers’ trilogy while the recent ‘Kingsman’ movies have proven themselves at the box office, but aside from that, even attaching big names like Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway (‘Get Smart’), Melissa McCarthy and Jason Statham (‘Spy’), Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine (‘This Means War’), Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer (‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.’), or Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz (‘Knight and Day’) has produced nothing notable or memorable.
So added to the list is ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’, the title of which sounds hopelessly out-of-touch but striving to connect with its audience (which is primarily female, though the age demographic is much harder to understand).
The film has the odd laugh-out-loud moment but its plot is overlong and predictable. Kunis is a bland lead, though, as she did with ‘Ghostbusters’ (now retitled ‘Ghostbusters: Answer the Call’, for some reason) and last year’s ‘Rough Night’, McKinnon shines through the mediocrity. Her scenes with Gillian Anderson, a fun but not lifesaving addition, are a highlight, especially when she delivers a monologue about being in awe of the feminine powerhouse.
‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’ also has some surprisingly violent moments scattered throughout which seem to serve no point other than to ‘give the kids what they want.’ This contributes to the confusing tone as well as the aforementioned unclear audience demographic. As a result, while it is by no means a terrible film, one struggles to know whom to recommend to it to.