The Spy Who Dumped Me

I won’t lie, I didn’t walk into The Spy Who Dumped Me really expecting to enjoy it. I walked into that movie hoping to squeeze a little more value out of my MoviePass subscription before it disappeared. So I ended up being pleasantly surprised by this little action comedy that remains somewhat entertaining while largely flubbing one half of its formula.

The Spy Who Dumped Me stars Mila Kunis as Audrey, a woman who was recently dumped by her boyfriend over a text message. One day at work Audrey is abducted by two men who identify themselves as as Sebastian, from MI6, and Duffer from the CIA and inform her that her ex-boyfriend was a CIA agent who has disappeared. They think he left something with her and will return for it. He does, but is shot by an assassin. He tells her to go to Austria to deliver the item to his contact. So Audrey and her best friend Morgan, played by Kate McKinnon, go to Austria and get involved in a spy plot.

One half of The Spy Who Dumped Me’s action comedy mix is much stronger than the other. The movie is generally not funny. There are a few amusing lines or sequences, but it frequently alternates between gross out violence and stupidity that do not elicit much in the way of laughs. Fortunately, the action side of the movie is more than competent. It tries really hard to be funny, but it has that loose, improvisational style that is so popular but only rarely funny. This isn’t a movie where it really works. Only McKinnon seems adept at it, and everyone else is just trying to keep up. When the humor actually comes out of the plot, it actually tends to be funny. Another problem is that it leans hard on humor from over the top violence and it is largely not funny. The action, though, is pretty well staged. It is comprehensible, if not particularly ambitious. The shoot out in a Vienna restaurant is especially solid. Also the subsequent chase is good. The action scenes are solidly competent.

The performers do a lot of the work in making this movie worthwhile. Mila Kunis does good work as the straight woman in the formula, in over her head but without a better idea of what to do. She has good chemistry with both of her costars, McKinnon and Sam Heughan, who plays Sebastian. Kunis is underrated as a low key action star, or maybe I just like Jupiter Ascending more than most, and is generally a solid comedienne. The problem is that McKinnon is in a different movie than everyone else. That has worked for her in the past, like in Ghostbusters, but here it doesn’t quite work. Heughan, who is great in Outlander, shines here. He shows he can do the action scenes in the chances he gets and has a generally affable presence that helps sell the comedy.

The Spy Who Dumped me is not a movie that does anything particularly well. It doesn’t surprise or impress. You likely know every beat that is coming as soon as the movie starts. But it is competent. There is nothing about it that is egregiously bad. It is just kind of there. I enjoyed it, but I enjoy each of the three central performers on their own and enjoyed them here. It is just kind of middle of the road. I don’t regret seeing it, but I doubt I will remember it in two months.

**1/2

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