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Bad Spies (The Spy Who Dumped Me)
U.S.A. 2018

Opening 30 Aug 2018

Directed by: Susanna Fogel
Writing credits: Susanna Fogel, David Iserson
Principal actors: Justin Theroux, Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Sam Heughan, Hasan Minhaj

It’s her party and she’ll cry if she wants to.  After being dumped by her boyfriend via text message, Audrey (Mila Kunis) is not having a very happy birthday.  As best friends do, Morgan (Kate McKinnon) tries to cheer her up and help her exorcise Drew (Justin Theroux) from her life. While at work, Audrey gets detained by MI6 agent Sebastian (Sam Heughan) who informs her that Drew is CIA. Upon hearing that Audrey plans to destroy all his belongings, Drew comes in from the cold and is promptly shot by the assassin Morgan inadvertently brought home for the night. Before dying, Drew enlists Audrey to complete his last mission and soon the two best friends are off and running into the world of international espionage.

Put aside any expectations of reality or plausibility when viewing this spoof of action films. How does a cashier afford to suddenly jet off to Europe on an unknown mission?  Did she really hone her marksmanship skills playing video games?  Don’t think, just accept it.  Not exactly the intrigue of deep cover and secret plots, the world into which the girls plunge is over-the-top gun play in very public places, or Europe is really full of no-go zones. The cast of criminals is pretty extensive, although there’s not much of a back-story about who they are and why they are all after the same thing.  Trust no one.

More action than comedy, some of the more obvious attempts at humor fall short. However, the subtle segments of satire are entertaining.  Don’t leave until the credits have rolled. Not being a big fan of action movies and rather particular about comedy, I somehow found myself smiling when I left the theater. So, have some fun but don’t expect to be sitting on the edge of your seat or doubling over with laughter. Overall, it’s a bit weak on both action and comedy. (Anne Crocker)

Second Opinion

Having just been dumped via text message by her boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux), Audrey (Mila Kunis)is glumly attempting to celebrate her birthday alone and face another year stuck in the rut of a life with little surprise. Poor Audrey hasn’t ever even been to Europe! Enter her wacky best friend, Morgan (Kate McKinnon), to get her over the hump and help her discover (via alcohol and the classic best friend advice to burn all his belongings) that her ex is in fact an international spy in possession of a disguised USB stick with information every country wants.

With the CIA, MI6, and a few international assassins in dogged pursuit, Audrey and Morgan find themselves on a summer tour of multiple European capitals unable to trust anyone but each other. Predictable? Yes. Entertaining? Not as much as one would hope with these two leading ladies.

In particular, McKinnon, whose role as the crazy, always pushing the envelope best friend is played more than adequately, never fully gets the chance to shine as she so often does in her Saturday Night Live skits.  Her obsessive, over the top contact with her parents is a definite comedic highlight of the film, but such characterization doesn’t have much room to grow in the twists and turns of this action heavy plot.

While McKinnon’s unfulfilling comedic role was personally the biggest disappointment of the film, it is by far not the only one. In attempting to be the summer blockbuster with a little bit of everything for everyone - from sweeping international locations and big budget action scenes to laugh out loud humor and poignant best friends as sisters feminist leaning chick flick moments - this film falls short on delivering anything solid of its own. However, it is worth mentioning that as an Expat, I found the cinematography of all the European cities and characterization of clueless American tourists well done and entertaining.

In the end, I left unable to shake the belief that amid a Me Too Feminist movement that has taken the world and Hollywood by storm, it was thought simply swapping out the traditionally male leads of a summer action film for two female comedic heavyweights and giving it a sizable special effects budget for spectacular deafening explosion sequences would be enough for a box office slam dunk. Well, with Kunis and McKinnon headlining, it should definitely bring in a large audience, but most may leave disappointed. (Adelina Gonzales)

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