Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Review: The Spy Who Dumped Me

The Spy Who Dumped Me
Cert: 15 / 117 mins / Dir. Susanna Fogel / Trailer

Readers of a certain age may remember the Morecambe & Wise film where our heroes unwittingly become involved in espionage shenanigans*1 and dark-edged hilarity ensues. Well, suffice to say that The Spy Who Dumped Me is The Intelligence Men for the Bad Moms generation.

So: Something something, pair of slacker friends who get drunk and make dick jokes; something something asshole boyfriend who is really an untrustworthy CIA operative; something something, going on an impromptu whistle-stop tour of Europe to try and save the world from a terrorist organisation while the authorities look on in comedic consternation; something something, we haven't written a punchline for this scene I'm sure you'll be able to figure something out on the day…

Mila 'Friends With Benefits' Kunis and Kate 'Office Christmas Party' McKinnon star in the resulting action-caper where director Susanna Fogel encourages the pair to ad-lib their way around a bare-bones screenplay, while frenetic action scenes play out periodically. Their improvisation is patchy, lacks cohesion and is still far stronger than the scripted dialogue. Yet bizarrely, the action choreography here is pretty outstanding and saves what's left of the movie. The 15 certificate awarded by the BBFC for the multitude of profanities also allows for some pretty brutal fight scenes, and they're executed with far more vigour and flair than the po-faced thrillers who claim to be doing this sort of thing for a living.

Kunis and McKinnon are great screen presences of course, and have a fairly strong chemistry together, but they're utterly wasted on a movie which feels like it was (half) written for Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell. And while it's certainly a step in the right direction having a female co-writer and director for the outing, dropping everyone into pedestrian fare like this threatens to drag a more progressive phase of studio-comedy back into the current one.

Ladies. Don't try to beat the guys at their own game.
The game already sucks.
Just be better.

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
Well it's more enjoyable than Spy and Zoolander 2, admittedly, although you could quite comfortably keep all three movies on the same shelf.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?
This is a £4 DVD in ASDA.

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
Actually even better, just stream it yeah?

Is this the best work of the cast or director?
It isn't.

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?
Quite possibly, if you're one of the patrons in my screening who openly guffawed at a man getting some documentation out of a desk. Yeah, more than one person did this. So I mean, the stationery-retrieval aspect of the movie is clearly working for some audiences, and that's a notoriously fickle comedy-niche....

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There isn't.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 1: Canto Bight's resident Master Codebreaker is in this.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 Okay, I know that's not quite the exact setup of the The Intelligence Men, you don't have to go on about it. But I promise you, in comparison with The Spy Who Dumped Me it's close enough. [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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