More noise than signal

The Spy Who Dumped Me

Republished from the show notes of my other site, Fuds on Film.

Mila Kunis’ store clerk Audrey Stockton spends her birthday upset as she’s just been dumped, via text message, by her now ex-boyfriend, Justin Theroux’s Drew. Consoled by free-spirited best friend, Kate McKinnon’s Morgan, things take a turn for the unexpected when Audrey finds out that Drew is a spy, and for reasons I don’t think are worth getting into in the context of a review, she must deliver secret information to a contact in Vienna, to thwart an internal threat in the US and British Governments. So off Audrey and Morgan pop to the old world, pursued by various ne’erdowells, and, as with any spy caper, things are not what they first appear.

This film is resoundingly, triumphantly okay. It screams okayness from every frame, boldly proclaiming itself as just about funny enough to not complain much about. It entreats you to think of it as adequate, and if at all possible, not think at all about Spy from a few years back which ploughed a very similar path but was much, much better in every regards.

It’s trying to mine a bit of situational humour from its action scenes, and the surprisingly Deadpool-esque moments of graphic violence that ensue, no doubt meant as a counterpoint to the surprisingly warm relationship between the leads. It does make it a little discordant at times, but also contributes just enough to the average laugh quotient that it’s not worth getting annoyed about, particularly in a film this daft.

It’s a film that’s spending a lot of time coasting on Kate McKinnon’s brand of off-kilter comedy, so do a degree it’s her doing her thing again, with Kunis as a capable… whatever the appropriate non-gendered, non-hetronormative terminology is for “straight man”. In a decade perhaps that’ll be a criticism, but McKinnon is as yet far from being overexposed, so I’m on-board with off-kilter. To a degree it’s a film with a much better cast than the script deserves, which helps keeps things ticking along.

I could go on, but I’d be repeating myself. It’s exactly average, and so is not worth going out of your way to either see or avoid, meaning, I suppose that it’s a film your inevitably crash into, perhaps on your streaming service of choice, and you’ll have an okay old time with. I award this film average/10.