Right now, Kate McKinnon’s early movie career is starting to somewhat resemble that of Jim Carrey’s. At least in that she’s playing a lot of over-the-top characters with big personalities – which is something McKinnon excels at doing. When I’ve been around McKinnon in professional settings, you might not even notice she’s there, unless she wants you to notice her, which makes this all the more remarkable. I’m going to make a prediction that when McKinnon does her first halfway serious role (if that’s something that even interests her), she’s going to be in Oscar discussions. Heck, she’ll probably win one before it’s all said and done. Her career is fascinating because it’s so easy to see what’s coming down the road, even though we are still in the “big comedy” aspect of her film career. And that “big comedy” is Susanna Fogel’s The Spy Who Dumped Me.
The most shocking thing about The Spy Who Dumped Me is just how violent it is. That’s not a knock, it’s just surprising in a, “Oh, wow, they are really going for it,” way for a movie that’s being marketed as a comedy. On the surface, this is being presented as a movie in which Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon get to be funny together, but they are surrounded by really violent action. Which, in the end, makes The Spy Who Dumped Me much more interesting.
Kunis plays Audrey, who has just been dumped (as the title says) by her boyfriend, Drew (Justin Theroux). As we also know from the title, Drew is a spy, but Audrey doesn’t know that just yet. When Audrey threatens to burn all of Drew’s possessions – egged on by her best friend, Morgan (McKinnon) – Drew returns from a mission (one in which he’s shooting a lot of people in the face) in an effort to stop her because he has hidden something incredibly important in a Second Place Fantasy Football trophy.
Soon, the people chasing Drew ambush Audrey’s apartment and tell her that she must travel to Vienna and deliver the trophy to Drew’s contact and that the whole world is depending on this trophy to be delivered. So, off go Audrey and Morgan on an adventure to Europe, all the while not knowing who exactly to trust – most notably a MI6 agent named Sebastian (Sam Heughan).
Obviously the draw here is Kunis and McKinnon who get some really great moments together. And once the two get to Europe, it’s basically a very violent road trip movie. But the main problem is the movie feels a little disjointed in that a lot of things happen that don’t make a lot of sense. And there’s something of a twist at the end that makes absolutely no sense at all based on what we witnessed and things that characters said earlier in the movie.
Honestly, part of me just wants to shrug all that off because, who cares, it’s a comedy. Maybe it’s not here to make structural sense. But what makes that difficult is how the action scenes are played like a true action movie. The Spy Who Dumped Me does an effective job of putting these two outsiders into the world of a violent action movie, but then the plot of the action movie has some truly head-scratching scenes.
But, whatever. This is an August movie and Kunis and McKinnon are funny and that’s what you’re paying to see. Just maybe try not to think too hard about the finer plot points and, instead, just try to laugh. It’s fun to laugh.
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