Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon Are an Unlikely Match in ‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’
Dating in Los Angeles is never easy, but local grocery store cashier Audrey (Mila Kunis) has an especially hard time in the action comedy “The Spy Who Dumped Me.” The film opens with Audrey celebrating a birthday, but her festive mood is dampened by the fact that her boyfriend, Drew (Justin Theroux), recently ended their year-long relationship via text. Fortunately, she has her best friend, spunky actress Morgan (Kate McKinnon), to lift her spirits. This opening scene is interwoven with an action sequence of Drew Jason Bourne-ing himself through the streets of Lithuania. Only a text from Audrey threatening to “burn his shit” that he left in her apartment can slow him down. The abandoned box, which contain tokens from a seemingly mediocre life, including stained undies and a trophy for fantasy football, seems disposable, but little does Audrey know, the plastic trophy contains a valuable flash drive that has already started an international bidding war. After Drew is gunned down by a naked assassin, it’s up to Audrey to deliver the deliver the plastic prize to Vienna, with Morgan tagging along for the ride.
Glamorous Mila Kunis, who has taken on a mix of dramatic and comedic film roles since the end of “That 70s Show,” may not have been the obvious choice to play a slacker 30-year-old, which makes it all the more hilarious to see her dodging bullets wearing the Hawaiian shirt that’s a part of her uniform at the Trader Joe’s-style store. And there are plenty of bullets to be dodged, as the bodies pile up. Even an innocent Uber driver gets caught in the crossfire, though his death is played for laughs since he’s an annoying wannabe D.J.
Helping out Audrey and Morgan is hunky British intelligence agent Sebastian (Sam Heughan) and his partner Duffer (Hasan Minhaj), an arrogant American who never misses an opportunity to mention his being a Harvard grad. SNL alum Jane Curtin is perfectly cast as Morgan’s mother who, along with her father (Paul Reiser), is outrageously sunny and encouraging, more impressed with the fact that her daughter is on the news than worried about her being caught up in an international conspiracy. Supporting cast also includes Gillian Anderson as Sebastian’s badass boss, who becomes an unlikely role model for the goofy Morgan. There’s also Lolly Adefope as Tess, Audrey’s hilariously passive-aggressive friend, the kind of self-important pal most women that age have that never misses an opportunity to make herself feel better at the expense of others.
“The Spy Who Dumped Me” works best when the women succeed due to sheer dumb luck, although a major part of Audrey’s arch involves her learning how to take charge and accomplish a task, something this law school-dropout has managed to avoid thus far in her adult life. Kunis and McKinnon have great chemistry together, especially in a scene when they find themselves up against a dangerous nemesis, Ukrainian Nadeja (Ivanna Sakhno), a failed Olympic gymnast-turned-assassin.
At 117 minutes, “The Spy Who Dumped Me” runs a bit long for a comedy, especially one with such a silly concept. However, it is an enjoyable ride up, at least until it hits some bumps in the third act, most notably in a drawn-out sequence in which Morgan goes up against Nadeja on a trapeze, Morgan having conveniently trained at some circus summer camp. With McKinnon being such a comedy treasure, perhaps director/co-writer Susanna Fogel can be forgiven for being so frugal when it came to cutting down her scenes.
“The Spy Who Dumped Me” opens Aug. 3 nationwide.