On the heels of last summer’s disappointing spy action comedy “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”, starring Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson, Lionsgate now offers-up their female counterpart in the genre – “The Spy Who Dumped Me”. That title probably sold well in the pitch meeting. However, the final product is a mess and easily one of the worst movies of 2018.
All you need to know about the plot is in the title. Audrey (Mila Kunis) is turning 30 and not happy with her life. And her boyfriend just broke-up with her (in a text message). Her manically-upbeat BFF Morgan (Kate McKinnon) tries to cheer-up Audrey by throwing her a party. It doesn’t work.
But the next day, following a series of ridiculous yet unfunny events, Audrey learns that Drew, her ex, actually works for the CIA and that they’re all is danger. Soon the two ladies, who appear to be incapable of completing even the simplest task, are on their way to Europe to carry-out a mission to prevent bad guys from killing a lot of people.
The only way this preposterous script could have been be pulled-off successfully was by being wildly funny. That’s not the case. In fact, I didn’t laugh once over the two hour runtime. The dialogue falls into three categories: bland, silly, and gross. There’s a great deal of sexual “humor” (and a gratuitous male genital shot) all to get “The Spy Who Dumped Me” its R-rating. This is yet another desperate attempt by a studio to go after the raunchy adult comedy audience (which barely exists)…. and another failure.
The person I felt most sorry for while watching “The Spy Who Dumped Me” (besides each of ticket buyers at the screening I attended) was the very talented McKinnon, who is so much better than this. She tries her hardest, and there are a few brief moments when she’s able to display her unique comedic timing. But unlike Melissa McCarthy, McKinnon can’t (yet) take terrible material and make it passable.
Kunis is the straight-woman of the team. She’s proven with the “Bad Moms” films that she can be a strong lead. But she doesn’t have a chance here. In fact, besides Kunis, the only thing in common between this movie and “Bad Moms” is the first half of that title.
With several exotic locations, elaborate shoot-outs and multiple chases, this had to be a challenging project for director/co-writer Susanna Fogel (of the former ABC Family series “Chasing Life”). But that’s no excuse for the ultra-violence (simply done for “shock” value), a really dull, predictable “fish out of water” script, sloppy editing and sound mixing, and cardboard performances from the supporting cast. The only mildly successful moments come during a couple of flashbacks to the night Audrey and Drew first met.
Seeing “The Spy Who Dumped Me” one night after the new “Mission: Impossible” installment has given me an even greater appreciation for Cruise’s latest – and how a spy movie is supposed to work.
And “Fallout” is funnier, too.
On The Official LCJ Report Card, “The Spy Who Dumped Me” gets a D-.
Running Time: 116 min.