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Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon Spy Hard – Variety

Has it ever been an action comedy where the action steamrolled the comedy as it does in "The Spy Who Dumped Me"? The example that runs in mind is "Beverly Hills Cop II", and it was a disaster of misplaced 80s-spell spray-machismo, a betrayal of the mouthy sparkle Eddie Murphy who came to the original. "The Spy Who Dumped Me" is not a debacle, but it's a surprising and strange combustible entertainment, a movie that does not seem to determine whether it wants to be a light comedian or an upper-heavy exercise in B-movie mega violence.

Audrey (Mila Kunis), a New Jersey treasurer with long brown hair and an insecure attitude to match, and Morgan (Kate McKinnon), her righteous feminist BFF, ends up in the middle of a high Ballistic Spying Caper after it has been shown that Audrey's absent boyfriend, Drew (Justin Theroux), is a cutthroat operative working for the CIA. Before the story begins to roll, we see him in action, murmur through walls and send continental goons and jump out a window on a truck in a single host of Tom Cruise at his most stunt-happy. This may almost be the prelude to a Jason Statham movie, and the audience thinks, "Okay, they must try to get us in the mood."

Once Drew is killed in front of Audrey, she and Morgan are trying to perform their mission by taking the package he transported and moved to Vienna to deliver it to his contact at a cafe. We still think the movie sets us up for a hull: the female version of a Will Ferrell mate or perhaps a cousin for law enforcement comedies like "Spies" or "The Heat." Not that "The Spy Who Dumped Me" Needed to follow these formulas – it's all right to be their own thing. "

But what a thing! The laughing lines are coming up, but mostly they are not fully recorded as comedy (more like filler ) because the image is so bent that it is an extravaganza of straight face. That Vienna cafe explodes, for example, in bloody freedom (machine gun, daggers, crash bodies) and the key to what we find to occur in the brutal payout, when a man gets his head broken into a pot of fondue – and it is not, repeat not a joke. It's just a cool way to kill someone. (It would actually have been more fun if Jason Statham had done it.)

"Spy Who Dumped Me" has knife fighters and car chases, twin crosses and betrayals, a Euro-Trav structure that takes our heroes from Vienna to Paris to Prague to Berlin, a suavely good-looking agent (Sam Heughan ) that may or may not be on theirs ida, a Russian murderer (Ivanna Sakhno) who is like an android gymnast with invisible eyebrows, a Cirque du Soleil climax characterizing Morgan on a trapeze and more jibber jabber than you can stand a flash drive containing information that will save countless lives. There's a dozen gun breaks for every laugh, but still on your own terms, the film is far from incompetent – in the middle of the time, Die Hard is your standard. It's hard to have a lot of investment in everything we see, but at least one dimension of "The Spy Who Dumped Me" is alive, and it's Kate McKinnon's blinking-to-killer attitude performance. There are moments when she saves the movie.

The peculiar danger of any Saturday Night Live artist who tries to make it on the big screen is that they will go as sketchy and lightweight, too worn in late-night personality tics. But McKinnon, in "The Spy Who Dumped Me," breaks out of the heated "SNL" -shtick ghetto. She plays Morgan as a post- # MeToo resign, and there's nothing harmless or sweet about her comic attack. With her strong-eyed eyes and hungry grin and bone-dry sarcastic delivery, McKinnon is Bette Davis channeling Fran Lebowitz. When presented to Wendy (Gillian Anderson), a big dumb of MI6, she says: "You are the boss, and you have not sacrificed an ounce of femininity." McKinnon knows how to play a line so that it intersects in two directions at once: she thinks, but she also sends her own watch this! bitches can really have all boosterism. Her sarcastic sincerity is a tonic that sticks.

Brandishing such an attitude, and with the right vehicle, Kate McKinnon could reign in the movies. But "The Spy Who Dumped Me" is not that vehicle. It's a new type of sister-power action-concoction, and the director and co-author Susanna Fogel shows an indisputable audacity in refusing to make comedy for silly-girly-coy. Yet, "The Spy Who Dumped Me" is so shipped with heavy generic sets that never set up the kind of free zone where the laugh could take the wing.

At one point our heroes land in an apartment that they think is a haven, but their host, played by the always lovely Fred Melamed, turns out to be an enemy spy. Yet he is an absurd debonair. When he looks at Morgan with a raised eyebrow and asks: "Are you a lover of Balzac ?" She answers, "Less and less with all experiences". I would have traded full-featured thriller – The Spy Who Dumped Me "package for half a dozen jokes like mad old school corny-funny.

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