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Saturday
Aug042018

SHAKEN AND STIRRED // A FILM REVIEW OF "THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME"

BY MATEO MORENO

McKinnon. Kate McKinnon. Though she is technically the supporting character, THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME is unequivocally her film. The insanely talented comedian from SNL has one by one begun building a resume outside of the famous sketch show that catapulted her into stardom and show that she is a force to be reckoned with. The film starts off with a birthday party in Los Angeles mixed with an action sequence shootout in Lithuania. You know, as most films do. Audrey (Mila Kunis) has been dumped and her friends have come together to celebrate her birthday. Her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) is loud and loyal, the kind of friend that movies usually try to tell you are too ridiculous, but we all know we have one of them in our life, and they're amazing. They bond is solid, they'd do anything for each other, and Morgan is determined to make Audrey forget about the jerk who dumped her (Justin Theroux, better known as Drew or to be a bit more clear, the Spy in the title). 

 

Eventually, Drew shows back up in LA and Audrey and Morgan get mixed up in all of the shenanigans. He entrusts Audrey with a secret, one that she must get to Vienna, and so they go. And I say both of them because there is no way either of them would leave the other alone in this mess. And that's what's refreshingly different about this buddy comedy. There is no oil and vinegar match. They don't hate each other a second in this film. They are best friends and the most reliable person each of them can count on. Not only does that seem obvious, but it's radically rare in a film. And although there is romance sprinkled throughout the film, it's literally and afterthought, as the main show is these two ladies and the fact that they are somewhat bumbling, but they're also pretty good at this.

 

 Director Susanna Fogel (who co-write the script with David Iserson) directs the film with a snappiness and sharpness that keeps the film zipping along. The action is sometimes brutal (after all, we are in a spy film) and the punchlines are usually wonderfully sharp (one highlight is a fantastic car chase in an Uber that really cements any notion that these two are simply made for each other). There's also some great supporting turns from Hasan Minhaj, Jane Curtain, Paul Reiser, Gillian Anderson, Ivanna Sakhno, and Sam Haeughan (who trades his Outlander Scottish wear for some more form fitting clothes). Yes the film is just a tad too long in the final act, but that hardly matters with Kate McKinnon literally tearing up the screen in every possible frame. Mila Kunis essentially plays it straight, but her great chemistry with McKinnon helps sell the relationship solidly. It's not rewriting the playbook of buddy action films, but it's doing it better than usual. And that's something to celebrate.

 

MATEO'S GRADE: B+

SCREENPLAY BY Susanna Fogel and David Iserson DIRECTED BY Susanna Fogel STARRING Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Hasan Minhaj, Jane Curtain, Paul Reiser, Gillian Anderson, Ivanna Sakhno, and Sam Haeughan. Now playing in cinemas everywhere.

 

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