"The Spy Who Dumped Me" is a rare bird in that it marries the odd-trio genres of buddy flick, globe-trotting spy adventure and romantic comedy. Rarer still, the protagonists are two women.
Director Susanna Fogel's status quo-shattering romp doesn't bend expectations just for the sake of doing something new. Nor does it push any outwardly feminist messaging. The characters played by Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon embrace typical eye-rolling basic stereotypes, as shallow, narcissistic underachievers.
The twist is that the typecast ladies stumble into a tangled web of international intrigue, forcing them to step out of their insular lives to learn what they're made of.
As an action movie, the film doesn't hold back. There are car-chases, high-wire battles, torture scenes and shootouts. Characters -- even fairly important ones -- are offed at inopportune moments, lending a surprising sense of unpredictable danger to the proceedings. Other than the two heroines, there are no guarantees that any major player will live to see the end credits.
The hook is that Audrey (Kunis) is fuming over her distant boyfriend having broken up with her via text. Morgan (McKinnon) spurs her to move on, and a wild night out leads to both women hopping on a plane to Europe to deliver a coveted object to a shadowy figure. That's just the beginning of a wild, often inexplicable plot that exists just to plunge Audrey and Morgan into increasingly outlandish situations.
But even without the dizzying acrobatics and crowd-pleasing throwdowns, the movie would be just as entertaining. The movie works because of the BFF bond between McKinnon and Kunis. They subtly undermine and second-guess each other, take turns prodding the other into more trouble, and play on the other's insecurities in a facepalm-inducing game of one-upsmanship, all while somehow providing unquestioned, unbreakable support.
Strong, if slight, supporting turns from the likes of Paul Reiser, Jane Curtin, Gillian Anderson and Justin Theroux keep things lively and wily as the story spins close to out-of-control territory, but this is thoroughly the Kunis and McKinnon show.
The dynamic between the two leads is a standout character in and of itself, with a mischievous, often unspoken assuredness. They let you in on the fun, making you feel as though you're giggling as you're getting away with something. That's the secret of this silly, irresistible comedy.
RATING: 3 stars out of 4