REVIEW / ACTION COMEDY
THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME
117 minutes/Opens Aug 2/2.5 stars
The story: Best friends Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) go on the run when they accidentally get embroiled in a case involving international assassins. In the process, Audrey realises that her ex-boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux) is a top CIA agent.
The driving force of any buddy cop comedy is the chemistry between the leads, so it is a big problemwhen Kunis and McKinnon display so little of it here.
One of the running gags is how they like to blurt out embarrassing facts about each other in public to prove that they are best friends, except this fails to convince anyone - including the audience.
Their characters are so wildly different - Audrey is straight-laced and rather dull, while Morgan is completely over the top and acts inappropriately in every situation.
And it seems that the actresses themselves also have contradicting ideas of what this film should be. Kunis acts as if this were a semi-serious action spy movie, while McKinnon treats it as a farce in the vein of her Saturday Night Live shows.
Had this been a film with only McKinnon in the lead, it may have worked better because on her own, she is hilarious. She delivers all the best one-liners, many of which appear to be ad-libbed.
When she discovers that the MI6 boss is a woman (played by Gillian Anderson), she says withawe: "You're the boss and you have not sacrificed one ounce of femininity. That is the Beyonce of the government."
Also commendable is how the film, directed by Susanna Fogel (Life Partners, 2014), never downplays the violence here just because the two leads happen to be women.
The action gets very bloody and the number of deaths is surprisingly high. Neither Audrey nor Morgan are invincible, too, and they suffer a number of painful beatings along the way.
Now that raunchy comedies with women behaving badly have almost become the norm (Kunis' 2016 film Bad Moms is one), perhaps violent female-driven action comedies could be the next big thing.
And that is fine - just not with these two actresses working together.
Watch the trailer at youtu.be/8uboter6OT8