Match a female comedy duo with handsome gents and a few international incidents and you have The Spy Who Dumped Me. A smartly written comedy that picks up the comedic spy genre where Melissa McCarthy’s Spy left it in 2015. Starring Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon as Audrey and Morgan, the film follows the two as they get brought into global espionage when Audrey becomes the protector of “the package,” following an attack at Audrey and Morgan’s apartment and the death of Audrey’s ex-boyfriend, who turns out was a spy. Audrey and Morgan, both now targets, make a quick decision to get “the package” to its rightful owner taking on whirlwind trip across Europe, as they are tailed by multiple organizations.
Comedic Twists on a Standard Plot
The main conflict of the film is focused on how clueless the girls are about what they are involved with following a run out of United States. Once in Europe they start to use spy knowledge they have gathered from movies and TV to make quick decisions. The storyline itself is pretty standard – a character finds themselves in unbelievable circumstances and must rise to the occasion to save the day. Yet, because of the comedic elements of this film within the well-designed action, there isn’t room for a much more complicated plot, though it feels predictable by the end.
Because this is a comedy that takes its action sequences seriously, the world of the film feels believable. Though, the characters are often saying how crazy their lives have become, the audience relating to the characters asking, “what would I do in this situation?”
Don’t Step on the Joke
With a push towards being a comedy with a driving action narrative, there is not much time for a joke to consume an entire scene. The action sequences tend to have more screen time than the comedic scenes, so it feels like it the jokes take a backseat, despite being the feature that separates this film from the others in the action genre. Because the pacing of the film is not based on the characters guiding the narrative themselves, but playing catch-up to a mission they were not supposed to join, this pushes the comedy too far from the center. Conversely, the quality of Spy came from the narrative being led by the main character who reacted to the situation comedically.
Audrey and Morgan are not portrayed as dumb, just inexperienced to their situation, so the jokes don’t come at their expense, but more from creating comedic moments with other characters (like the overly enthusiastic Harvard grad). With this colorful cast of characters, Audrey and Morgan begin to look the most “normal” in the spy world.
Overall, the film succeeds at creating fun characters, performed well with high quality action. The film was certainly entertaining and engaging and leaves the audience waiting to see Audrey and Morgan return for another mission. The film ends with an opportunity to take these characters in a new direction, so a sequel certainly looks possible.
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