Last updated¬†22:48, August 9 2018
The Spy Who Dumped Me¬†(R16, 117mins) Directed by Susanna Fogel¬†‚ėÖ‚ėÖ‚ėÖ¬Ĺ
At this point in what I laughingly refer to as my career, I feel exactly the same way about Kate McKinnon as I once felt about Bill Murray:
There’s not many films I see in a year that wouldn’t be improved with McKinnon in them.
McKinnon knocked Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy off the screen in every scene she got in¬†Ghostbusters, pulled the same stunt on Scarlett Johansson in the under-rated¬†Rough Night, and is now edging closer to top-billing as bestie Morgan to Mila Kunis’ Audrey in¬†The Spy Who Dumped Me.¬†
One day, someone is going to write the perfect script to harness McKinnon’s loosely hinged genius, and that is going to be very good day indeed to be doing this job.
In the meantime, sit back and watch as McKinnon ‚Äď and the very game Kunis ‚Äď elevate what might have been a pretty average off-season action comedy into a likeable and occasionally truly funny film.
*¬†The Spy Who Dumped Me: Mila¬†Kunis, Kate McKinnon play a female friendship for laughs
*¬†August’s five must-see movies
*¬†Movie Review: Rough Night – a comedy of errors which delivers laughs-out-loud
*¬†Kate McKinnon shows off rough Aussie accent in upcoming comedy Rough Night¬†
Audrey’s boyfriend Drew ‚Äď¬†we learn in a surprisingly well-staged and grim opening (I can just imagine director Susanna Fogel telling her camera and colour-grading team to “make it look like¬†Bourne“. It works.) ‚Äď¬†is actually a CIA agent. For reasons that really don’t stand much examination, Drew (played by Justin Theroux)¬†has left the plot’s McGuffin in a cupboard at Audrey and Morgan’s apartment.¬†
So while Drew is getting his arse handed to him in various locations around central Europe, our plucky duo are thrust into that baggiest of all movie cliches; the amateurs-who-must-become-secret-agents.
The Spy Who Dumped Me¬†(lousy title) works best when McKinnon and Kunis are exploiting some enviable and unfakeable on screen chemistry. Trading dialogue ‚Äď I’m guessing a lot of it improvised ‚Äď while the guns fire and limbs are being snapped around them. McKinnon is incapable of doing anything at all without trying ‚Äď and mostly succeeding ‚Äď to wring a laugh out of it. As the film wound into its third act, McKinnon made me snort a laugh just by making a meal out of locking a car door. That’s some Bill Murray-level magic right there.
Around the stars, Theroux¬†is credible as the duplicitous Drew and Sam Heughan (Outlander) turns in a credible Bond audition as fellow agent Sebastian. Gillian Anderson, Paul Rudd and Jane Curtin are all fine is various support roles. McKinnon’s crushing on Anderson’s CIA chief ‚Äď “oh my god, you’re Judi Dench”¬†‚Äď is one of many meta gags, most of which stick.
Listen, I know you’re probably intending to see¬†M:I6¬†this weekend if you haven’t already. And that’s fine.
But if the theatre is sold out, give¬†The Spy Who Dumped Me¬†a hoon. The action’s great, the jokes are mostly pretty good and the plot is about as credible. Surprisingly recommended.