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Film review: The Spy Who Dumped Me is charming and entertaining but uneven

PUBLISHED: 17:03 28 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:03 28 August 2018

Justin Theroux and Mila Kunis in The Spy Who Dumped Me. Picture: Hopper Stone/SMPSP/LIONSGATE ENTERTAINMENT

Justin Theroux and Mila Kunis in The Spy Who Dumped Me. Picture: Hopper Stone/SMPSP/LIONSGATE ENTERTAINMENT

Lionsgate Entertainment

The comedy and the espionage genres have long been a near-perfect combination, with the likes of Top Secret! (1984), the Johnny English series (2003-present) and Mathew Vaughn’s Kingsman films (2014 – present).

Mila Kunis as Audrey and Kate McKinnon as Morgan in The Spy Who Dumped Me. Picture: Hopper Stone/SMPSP/Lionsgate EntertainmentMila Kunis as Audrey and Kate McKinnon as Morgan in The Spy Who Dumped Me. Picture: Hopper Stone/SMPSP/Lionsgate Entertainment

They offer an acerbic, deeply funny and action-packed take on the spy film, elements which writer-director Susanna Fogel never successfully marries in her uneven second feature.

The film follows best friends Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon), who inadvertently become entangled in the world of espionage when the recently dumped Audrey discovers her ex-boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux) is a spy.

As one would perhaps expect from a film with such comedic talent both in front of and behind the camera, the gags come thick and fast but, unfortunately, rarely land.

Only a darkly humorous, ultra-violent restaurant–set melee and MI6 agent Sebastian Henshaw’s (Sam Heughan) bickering with CIA operative Duffer (Hasan Minhaj) elicit anything more than a faint smile.

Fogel regularly stumbles in her attempt to keep the wafer-thin plot afloat, throwing in a number of surprise revelations and predictable twists that often threaten to derail the film and indeed would, were it not for the film’s inventive Jason Bourne-style action sequences and its engaging performances.

Kunis and McKinnon share a strong chemistry, Theroux oozes charisma and menace as Audrey’s perfidious ex-lover and Gillian Anderson steals scenes as Henshaw’s phlegmatic superior.

If a little unbalanced, The Spy Who Dumped Me is a charming and entertaining affair.

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