Saturday, September 15, 2018
The Spy Who Dumped Me: A Review
THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME
I think my review for The Spy Who Dumped Me can be summed up pretty easily. There were many times when I literally covered me eyes to avoid watching more of this horror, and many other times when I was all but shouting "KILL THEM", the 'them' being the protagonists.
Actually, I think I did shout "KILL THEM!" out loud.
God Help Me if I see a worse movie this year, for The Spy Who Dumped Me has found itself among the most horrifying experiences I have had in movie-watching, certainly as of now.
Audrey Stockton (Mila Kunis) is celebrating her birthday, but it's an unhappy one: her boyfriend, Drew (Justin Theraux) just dumped her via text. Only her wacky BFF Madison (Kate McKinnon) is there to help her through this.
What Audrey does not know is that Drew is actually a spy for the CIA, information she gets from Sebastian (Sam Heughan), an MI-6 agent working with Duffer (Hassan Minhaj), a CIA agent who constantly brings up the fact he went to Harvard.
Drew breaks into Audrey's apartment to retrieve an item: a second-place trophy for Fantasy Football, but gets shot by a Ukrainian Madison picked up for a tryst who is really an assassin. Now everyone is after Audrey and Madison, with them fleeing to Vienna to follow Drew's directive about turning this trophy over to a special agent.
Well, our pair start a wild tour of Europe, hitting various cities with all sorts of assassins after them, with only Sebastian, under orders from his supervisor Wendy (Gillian Anderson) from dying. Not that Audrey and Madison aren't good at killing people or getting others killed accidentally, since Audrey's shooting skills have been enhanced by her time playing video games.
Finally, with help from Sebastian, Audrey and Madison are going to finally capture those after them in Berlin, who are after what is in the trophy: a flash-drive (aka the McGuffin).
Despite all this, there genuinely was no plot in The Spy Who Dumped Me, at least none that found any sense. The film is wildly out-of-focus, unsure of what it wants to be. It's billed as a comedy; nothing here really is funny, particularly the rather gruesome ways people are killed or the graphic sexual innuendo and nudity that I figure is meant to elicit laughs. They only elicited either groans or horror.
I kept thinking how many times the film lost an opportunity to be genuinely funny or exciting courtesy of director/co-writer Susanna Fogel (w/David Iserson). What if Audrey and Madison were already in Europe & caught up in a whirlwind romance with Drew, who would pop up every so often to help/hinder them? What if they kept accidentally escaping or causing chaos? What if the second place trophy was just a second place trophy that Drew was actually proud of?
There was no sense, no rhyme or reason for anything in The Spy Who Dumped Me.
Black Swan, I cannot say I have found Kunis to have given a good performance in any film (such as Jupiter Ascending). Here, her main mode of performance was to make faces, reacting in a horribly exaggerated manner and attempting to force the comedy, failing every time.
McKinnon, I'm told, is another comedic genius. Granted, she was the best part in the Ghostbusters reboot, but The Spy Who Dumped Me makes a case for her being wildly over-praised. Drew, in a flashback, is seen telling Madison if anyone has ever told her she is 'a bit much', and the film wants you to feel sad for her, but in reality Drew is right. Madison is such an annoying and irrational character, broad beyond the point of tolerable.
I genuinely question her sanity, and McKinnon's efforts to make Madison funny or even human come more from desperation than anything else. At one point Madison is seen almost strangled by the 'comedic' mad Russian assassin, and I genuinely wanted Madison to die.
Fortunately for Heughan and Theroux, all they were really required to do was be good-looking, which they were. Anderson wasn't in the film long enough to make this a black mark on her career (though she was just cashing a check). Also cashing checks were Jane Curtin and Paul Reiser as Madison's parents, who seemed to come from not just another draft but from a whole other movie.
Minhaj proved more interesting as the pompous Duffer than the other characters. As such, not only would I have preferred to have seen a Duffer/Sebastian film but also found that Duffer's rather cruel killing was horrible, but what they did to his corpse was worse.
Side note: I once was at a Starbucks when a man approached me and asked if I was 'Hassan'. I said I wasn't and went back to my mocha & Majesty Magazine. Less than five minutes later the same man came up to me and started speaking to me in Arabic. I just looked up and kind of snapped, "Look, I am NOT Hassan!".
The acting was atrocious and cringe-inducing. The plot idiotic and irrational. The violence was graphic to the point of sadistic.
The Spy Who Dumped Me is not a movie. It's a crime against cinema.