The Spy Who Dumped Me, 2018.
Directed by Susanna Fogel.
Starring Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Sam Heughan, Hasan Minhaj, Ivanna Sakhno, and Gillian Anderson.
Audrey and Morgan are best friends who unwittingly become entangled in an international conspiracy when one of the women discovers the boyfriend who dumped her was actually a spy.
The Spy Who Dumped Me is a timely addition to the new breed of female led spy films. From 2017’s Atomic Blonde to Proud Mary, there’s been a recent spate of films that have elevated the female role away from the traditional damsel in distress to someone who can kick ass. The Spy Who Dumped Me is a fun spoof of the genre with some good laughs and a lot of heart.
Audrey (Kunis) has been dumped by boyfriend Drew (Theroux) who she soon finds out was part of the CIA. After stumbling into a mission she jet sets across the globe with her best friend Morgan (McKinnon) and gets into all sorts of shenanigans.
From the outset you know that this film is going to satire all the spy tropes that we’ll all know. The opening cuts between Audrey being depressed on her birthday and her ex Drew escaping some bad guys in Europe. Every spy trick is on display, from improbable leaps from balconies to homemade bombs in a microwave and a slow motion walk away from the explosion. From there it’s all fun and games as the two leads get into various scenarios and bungle their way through it whilst cracking jokes.
Whilst there are a few jokes that fall flat and it’s a film you’ll chuckle to rather than laugh out loud, The Spy Who Dumped Me works because of the chemistry between the two female leads. McKinnon is on fine form as the overly dramatic Morgan and Kunis throws herself into the action. Whilst the plot is familiar, it’s in the quieter moments between the two women that the film comes alive. After a shootout and a car chase, the two friends are talking in a bathroom stall and Morgan is reinforcing to Audrey how awesome she is and how she shouldn’t shy away from it. It feels like the stars and screenwriters Susanna Fogel (who also directed) and David Iserson are giving the finger to all the spy films where women have been side lined into minor roles where they need to be saved or are clueless that their husband has been a spy for 15 years.
A romantic subplot feels perfunctory in a film that’s trying to be more forward thinking with female characters. The film doesn’t suffer for it per se but it would have been a bit more interesting to have a female led film without the romance.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★