Audrey (Mila Kunis) discovers her ex-boyfriend (Justin Theroux) is an international spy after he unceremoniously breaks up with her. A series of events then sets her off on a mission to Europe along with her best friend Morgan, played by Kate McKinnon who brings her typical quirkiness to her character. She taps into her substantial experience as a comedic performer and uses it to hilarious effect. She almost manages to get away with some of the more ridiculous scenarios merely by acknowledging Morgan’s eccentricities. Mila Kunis doesn’t do anything new with Audrey, who is meant to be relatively conservative and unadventurous. But co-writer and director Susanna Fogel uses this ‘grounded girl-next-door paired with impulsive wild child’ dynamic to the film’s advantage.
Amidst all the comedy and action, the underlying theme, besides survival, is the friendship between Audrey and Morgan. They go to great lengths to protect each other in dire circumstances which wouldn’t work if not for the chemistry between Kunis and McKinnon. The film is also quite aware of how it promotes feminism and even has the nerve to joke about this repeatedly. In moments like these, it finds an enjoyable rhythm, helmed by its affable lead pair. The action is a lot edgier than expected; there are fight scenes and car chases that take you by surprise and supersede the laughs. In fact, don’t let the marketing fool you into thinking it’s a lighthearted comedy because this movie certainly doesn’t pull any punches. Sadly, this momentum fizzles out towards the padded final act when inexplicable developments become particularly hard to digest.
The run-time doesn’t work in its favour at this point, especially as some sub-plots become tedious, drawing your attention away from the main story. While its grittier than your average chick flick, the biggest drawback in ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’ is that it doesn’t commit to one genre. There’s not enough action or intrigue that comes with a spy flick which becomes problematic when the humour fails to land. Still, there’s a lot of fun to be had with some surprises and enough laughs to keep you reasonably entertained.