Susanna Fogel’s The Spy Who Dumped Me is an overlong and needlessly unoriginal take on the spy genre, one that’s been overdone for quite some time. It exists in that sphere of film where seemingly ordinary people are put into extraordinary circumstances for broad comedic effect. Just based on what the movie wants to be, it would take a heavy amount of creativity to make a film like The Spy Who Dumped Me anything to get excited about. And while the movie does have a few solid gags and exists as an interesting exploration of female friendship and solidarity, the movie as a whole is really missing any sort of ingredient that would make it anything close to special.
The film follows Audrey (Mila Kunis), an innocuous grocery store clerk who’s trying to get over being dumped by her hunky boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux). That is, until she discovers that Drew is actually a CIA spy, who asks her to take a fantasy football trophy to Vienna before he’s fatally shot. At the insistence of her overenergized best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon), the two set off for Europe on an adventure to hopefully set everything straight.
Here, the two are stuck into increasingly elaborate and dangerous situations that could be in any old spy flick, but played for laughs. The plot itself is incredibly generic, the kind of basic spy stuff only an old screenwriter would slap together. It’s certainly not the type of thing that warrants being as convoluted as it is or hitting a nearly two-hour run time, but that doesn’t stop the movie from drawing things out as long as possible.
It’s a pity, too, because The Spy Who Dumped Me does some things right. There are a handful of solid jokes, even if most of them (like the notion that Edward Snowden is obsessed with ska) are throwaways. Kunis and McKinnon really carry the film simply by being charismatic. McKinnon’s Morgan starts the film by being one of the gratingly over-the-top extroverts that we’re supposed to find funny but whom you would cross the street to avoid in real life. But what’s interesting is that she’s fully formed within the film, while the movie itself is self-aware enough to make Morgan’s faults an important part of the film.
By the end of the movie, the film is less about goofy (and surprisingly violent) spy nonsense and more about the friendship between these two women and their loyalty to one another. What’s pleasing about this is that it’s handled with nuance while feeling genuine. The unfortunate part in all this is that it’s buried under so much generic nonsense that it can’t save the movie by itself. But it does make it more interesting and strangely more wholesome than it has any right to be. Rated R for violence, language throughout, some crude sexual material and graphic nudity. Now playing at AMC River Hills, Carolina Cinemark, Epic of Hendersonville, Regal Biltmore Grande.