Review – Not Quite Jane Bond (“The Spy Who Dumped Me”)

Ordinary people suddenly thrust into the spy game? You’ve seen it before in Spies Like Us, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Eagle Eye, and many more. So it comes as no surprise that a parody of it starring Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon as two bumbling women caught up in international chaos would be perfect.
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Ya ever have one of THOSE days? You know, the kind where your boyfriend text-left you weeks ago, but shows up unexpectedly and is being shot at by God knows who and all because he’s a CIA spy carrying a super-secret flash drive and then DIES right in front of you? Yeah, one of THOSE days! Well, lovely, lonely Audrey (Kunis) is flabbergasted when told by runway-model handsome CIA spook Sebastian Henshaw (Sam Heughan) that her dead ex-boyfriend, Drew (Justin Theroux), was a spy. Audrey’s crazy BFF with an un-filtered mind (and mouth) Morgan (McKinnon), can’t believe it either. However, Drew gave Audrey some ‘save the world’ instructions before he died and you know what that means! Road trip!

Jetting off to Vienna to give the mysterious flash drive to someone in a restaurant, all hell breaks loose when Sebastian shows up. Wait, is he a good guy or a bad guy? After a bloody exit, the girls are on the lam in Europe, getting lost, being chased & shot at, and getting captured and tortured by a creepy alien-looking gymnast/assassin (Ivanna Sakhno). All the while Audrey and motor-mouth Morgan are slowly getting into the whole “spy” swing of things and figuring out what’s on that flash drive. Expect your requisite double-crosses, spy-talk and gadgets, and someone falling in love. Oh, and a phone call to Edward Snowden in Russia… didn’t see that one coming!

Written by David Iserson (only TV series like New Girl and Mr. Robot) and director Susanna Fogel, who’s making her motion picture debut here as both a screenwriter & director. Fogel, best known for writing forgettable TV series (Chasing Life, Play by Play), has a sharp eye when it comes to two things: where to put the camera and taking a boring, clichéd premise and making it palatable for Kunis & McKinnon. For her foray as a big screen director, she doesn’t play it safe; the camera moves with John Wick style and efficiency for the dazzling fight scenes, then breathes for the comedic timing and pacing.

On the other hand, I’m guessing that, since this is Iserson and Fogel’s first movie screenplay, they decided to load it up with spy scene after spy scene, chase after chase, going from one country to another, escaping then getting captured, padding out scenes for no reasons, yadda-yadda-yadda. It gets exhausting after a while (two hours of this!); most of this could have been easily trimmed or cut. Then there are all the ‘wet spaghetti’ jokes; throwing handfuls of gags and lines out to see if a few of them will land. Many do, many do not. There’s no doubt that Kunis & McKinnon have got great chemistry, but the party’s gotta end sometime.

Spies Like Us (1985)

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Playing out like a Bob Hope/Bing Crosby “Road” picture, this goofy and very funny movie from the minds of Dan Aykroyd, Babaloo Mandell, and Lowell Ganz was directed by the insanely talented John Landis, who decided to throw in as many star cameo’s as possible. You can even play a drinking game with it!

Two unlikely government workers (who are also general misfits) are chosen to be U.S. spies. That’s the simple premise. Dan Aykroyd is Austin Millbarge, a geekish, basement-dwelling Pentagon code-breaker who longs to be a secret agent. Chevy Chase is Emmett Fitz-Hume, a wisecracking, pencil-pushing envoy, who takes (okay, he cheats) the foreign service exam along with Millbarge. When these two meet during the test, their ridiculous classroom antics catch the eye of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Ruby (Bruce Davidson) and Keyes (William Prince) of the DIA need expendable agents to act as decoys to draw attention away from the REAL team, so they convince Millbarge  and Fitz-Hume that THEY’RE the new secret agents! After some wacky training, they’re sent to into Soviet Central Asia. Meanwhile, the real team has to seize a Russian mobile SS-50 ICBM missile launcher. After Millbarge and Fitz-Hume miraculously escape enemy traps, attacks, and other wild perils, the bumbling pair encounter Karen Boyer (Donna Dixon, Dan Aykroyd’s real-life wife), the only surviving main team member.

High in the Pamir mountains, the trio overpowers the Russian missile guards (as crazy extraterrestrials, no less) and seize control of the launcher. But, there’s a problem. The ICBM gets launched, targeting the U.S. due to a covert black-op’s operation run by evil General Sline (Steve Forrest)! Thinking quickly, Millbarge figures out how to disarm the missile en route, and everyone is saved from nuclear war! Hooray! Because of their heroics, Millbarge, Fitz-Hume, and Boyer become World Peace negotiators in the end, playing a game of nuclear disarmament against the Soviets using Trivial Pursuit.

This is just plain nutty fun. SNL alumni Aykroyd and Chase are the perfect comic duo and have amazing chemistry on screen. Why they never made any sequels after this is a crime. It’s witty, loaded with brilliant sight gags, and OMG! SO many cameos by actors, directors, and more, it’s nuts! Look for fellow directors Terry Gilliam, Martin Brest, Joel Coen, Sam Raimi, Special Effects masters Ray Harryhausen and Derek Meddings, B.B. King, Bob Hope, Miss Piggy’s Frank Oz, and alot more! Of course, Landis is famous for doing this; making a movie with all his Hollywood friends just popping in to say a line, then leaving.

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