What do Meryl Streep, Jessica Chastain, Adam Driver and Oscar Issac all have in common? Moni Yakim. For over 52 years, Yakim has taught movement…
Don’t be fooled by its awful title. “The Spy Who Dumped Me” is the rare secret-agent spoof that doesn’t double-O-suck.
You can thank the awesome fights for that. During the first five minutes of the film, the action was so serious I thought I’d wandered into the wrong theater. I looked around for Kathryn Bigelow.
But that’s what makes “Dumped” funny: Hilarious actresses such as Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon are thrown into a believable deathtrap. They could die, or you could die laughing. That premise is far more palatable than two hours of lame Bond jokes.
Audrey (Kunis) is getting over a recent breakup with her boyfriend (Justin Theroux) the healthiest way there is — by burning his stuff — when he crashes through her apartment window. The ex reveals he’s a spy and breathlessly instructs Audrey and her roommate Morgan (McKinnon) to take a little plastic trophy to Vienna, and hand it off to a woman named Verne. Then he’s shot dead.
Fearing for their lives, and with no better prospects at home in California, the naive pair jets off to Europe. There, they have invigorating new experiences, help save the world and leave a staggering body count in their wake. Blood and yuks abound.
It’s nice to see McKinnon used properly in a movie. The gifted actress, sadly, has so far been part of an elite club of “Saturday Night Live” ladies who have made rather rocky transitions into film: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Kristen Wiig among them. But writers Susanna Fogel (who is also the director) and David Iserson explain McKinnon’s manic shtick by turning her into that friend who’s “a bit much.” It makes McKinnon make sense. And this is her movie.
Kunis, meanwhile, is the ideal straight woman. If McKinnon is one of those inflatable mascots going wild outside a car dealership, Kunis is the stoic guy on the street corner holding a “Discount Meatball Subs” sign. They’re a smart match.
The one character the filmmakers should’ve killed off in pre-production is Nadedja (Ivanna Sakhno), a Russian gymnast-slash-assassin who nearly blows up the grounded tone by being too over-the-top. At one point, the murderess coldly tells the girls that her best friend is a balance beam. For a villain, she’s more Borscht Belt than black belt.
But the movie is otherwise likable — a feat for the genre.
Espionage sendups miss the target more often than not. For every “Austin Powers,” there are a dozen more like “Johnny English.”
“The Spy Who Dumped Me” is one of the good guys.
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