TL;DR – At times deeply funny, and also quite shocking, while it doesn’t quite reach fantastic it is clear that a lot of talent and care has gone into the film, even though the full frontal nudity and language will be a barrier for many.
Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There are mid-credit scenes
This was actually quite a bit of a surprise, there had been a lot of bad buzz about the film floating around, and I honestly had no idea what to expect of the film other than the most blatant rip off of a Bond title since Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. However, the one thing that was clear from the first few minutes is that a lot of care has gone into the construction of this film, because there is a lot they could have phoned it in, but no they put the effort in.
So to set the scene, we open in on Audrey (Mila Kunis) celebrating her birthday and being cheered up by her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon), as just two weeks earlier her boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux) broke up with her over text message, what an ass. Well as this is going on we hard cut to the Baltics where we find that Drew is not just some layabout, he is, in fact, a spy. Which we see in full detail as he dismantles a hit squad sent to kill him, in a brutally efficient manner. Well after finding out that Drew left a box of his stuff at Audrey’s she lets the world know that she is going to burn it all, which leads to the CIA/MI6 agents Sebastian (Sam Heughan) and Duffer (Hasan Minhaj) rocking up kidnapping Audrey, and soon bullets echo throughout the apartment.
The first thing you really notice is just what a good rapport the two lead actors have with each other. Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon have a great energy with each other, and you can really believe that they were lifelong friends. This is important because they are the driving force behind the film and if that relationship was not believable then it would have torpedoed the film from the very start. To add to this, the supporting cast is mostly prepared for anything the film throws at them, up to and including a Borg homage. Sam Heughan does a solid audition for James Bond, and Gillian Anderson is always a delight even if it is just a small appearance.
One thing I did really like is how the filmmakers took the extra effort a lot of the time when they probably didn’t have to. For one example, take the action sequences, in many comedic films (and some full-on action films) they take the easy way out with actions sequences that are more fast cuts than substance, which gives the impression of high energy without actually earning it. Here we get a number of sequences with setup, weight to the action, and pay off later in the film. There was a sequence with a jump off a balcony onto a truck in one take that either used some really good face replacement or wire removal, but it was really quite cool. Also, they do a good job of foreshadowing in the film, like the first time we see Audrey she is getting a high score in an arcade cabinet so it is not as weird when she picks up a gun and is okay with it. Also, both of the girls are not experienced travellers or in ditching enemy spies, so when they make mistakes like thinking they needed a passport to travel through the Schengen Area or calling home to speak to their parents it is believable.
Now one thing that could very well be off-putting for many is the level of violence, nudity, and language that we find in the film, and that is a fair thing to not like. Indeed, at the start of the film, we get some full frontal nudity for a moment before the bodies hit the flaws. Now even with this in mind, I at least respect that unlike films like The Expendables or Spy (see review) it is integrated much more believably in the world and not in tacky cutouts that makes you think that they were hedging their bets when making the film as to what rating they were going to end up with. Indeed there are a lot of similarities between Spy and The Spy That Dumped Me, but I think The Spy That Dumped Me worked better because they really leaned into what worked.
However, that is not to say that everything worked well, as there were some frustrating moments. The first big issue is the film almost grinds to a halt in Paris as it feels like all the freeform stuff they had been doing up until that point got pushed to the side so the movie could go through the motions of setting up the ending. Also while I am sure this was not an intentional thing, and just an oversite. However, it is a bit garish that in a film in 2018 that the only people of colour in the entire film are just garbage people within the context of the film.
In the end, do we recommend The Spy That Dumped Me? And well that is a difficult question. Look there is a lot of crassness in this film that you might simply not like and that is fine, and if you are someone like that then I would not recommend it to you. However, if you like the occasional sexually explicit joke, then it might be a good time for you.
By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.
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Trailer – Click Here to View (all trailers have heavy spoilers)
Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Spy Who Dumped Me
Directed by – Susanna Fogel
Written by – Susanna Fogel & David Iserson
Music by – Tyler Bates
Cinematography by – Barry Peterson
Edited by – Johnathan Schwartz
Starring – Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Sam Heughan, Justin Theroux, Gillian Anderson, Hasan Minhaj, Ivanna Sakhno, Fred Melamed, Kev Adams, Olafur Darri Olafsson, Tom Stourton, Lolly Adefope, Jane Curtin & Paul Reiser
Rating – Australia: MA15+; Canada: 14A; Germany: 16; New Zealand: R; United Kingdom: 15; United States: R