The two stars are lost in a messy, R-rated misfire that tries too hard to be both an action film and a comedy

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Comedies shouldn't have to work as hard as "The Spy Who Dumped Me," a spy movie buddy comedy that shows serious signs of strain. 

Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon play best friends Audrey and Morgan, who are best friends because the script keeps telling you that they're best friends.

But they certainly don't feel like best friends, they feel like they're from different planets, with McKinnon's off-balance, disarming comic energy hijacking every scene. "Did anyone ever tell you you're a little much?" Audrey's boyfriend Drew (Justin Theroux) asks Morgan, laying out the obvious. 

Drew is the spy of the movie's title, who dumps Audrey by text message at the start of the film. That kicks off a spy plot where Audrey and Morgan travel to Europe and find themselves in over their heads in all sorts of top secret espionage shenanigans having to do with a secret flash drive in their possession. Guns go bang and copious F-bombs get dropped, for no reason other than to justify an R-rating for a film that would benefit from a less harsh PG-13 approach.

Co-writer and director Susanna Fogel works overtime to keep the banter light and irreverent, so characters joke about the size of the Cheesecake Factory menu and members of *NSYNC even as gratuitously violent action unfolds around them. Which could work, but the lack of chemistry between the leads and the weakness of the comedy hurts Fogel's cause.

"SNL's" McKinnon is a vivid comic with a manic spirit that, if not channeled property, can come off as grating. "The Spy Who Dumped Me" doesn't do her any favors. She's too strong a force to plug into a formulaic film, let alone one this jumbled.

agraham@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2284

@grahamorama

'The Spy Who Dumped Me' 

GRADE: C-

Rated R for violence, language throughout, some crude sexual material and graphic nudity

Running time: 117 minutes

 

 

 

 

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