The Spy Who Dumped Me

2018, Uncategorized

Dir. Susanna Fogel

Starring: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Sam Heughan, Hasan Minhaj, and Gillian Anderson.

The Spy Who Dumped Me is a spy caper with edge. Not afraid to lean into the more violent tropes of espionage movies, whilst also mining them for comedic gold. It doesn’t always hit its target, and it overstays its welcome by about twenty minutes, but once it gets into its flow, it has some fantastic belly-laughs, and a wicked feminist streak.

The film centres around Mila Kunis’ Audrey, a depressed thirty year old, who has just been dumped, by text, by her boyfriend Justin Theroux. She soon finds out that Theroux is actually an international spy, who has left her in possession of an item of great importance. So important, people will kill to get hold of it. This sets her and her best friend Morgan, played by Kate McKinnon off on a globe trotting trip in an effort to stay alive.

It’s a classic spy movie set up which leans into the tone of the Bourne and Mission Impossible franchise, the surprise here is how violent the film goes for a comedy. Necks are snapped, blood goes everywhere, and it riffs on torture/interrogation scenes. Justin Theroux excels as a super spy, and you have to wonder why he hasn’t taken on more parts like this. The action beats are surprisingly good too, with fantastic use of practical effects and stunts. Its testament to director Susanna Fogel, that this film would work as a solid action film if all the jokes were taking out.

Thankfully though, the jokes haven’t been taken out. The formula here is simple, take a generic action movie and drop Kate McKinnon into the middle of it. She squeezes every scene, every line, for comedic potential. Her blend of surreal, weird humour contrasting incredibly well against the darker more serious moments of the plot. She has great chemistry with Mila Kunis too, and together they create a relationship which is wholly believable. As the film goes on, the women become more empowered, and get to kick some ass themselves, but it’s great to see them empowering each other. They lift each other up constantly, and show true solidarity.

To sum up, The Spy Who Dumped Me was an unexpected joy. It was darker then I expected, and leant into the violent aspects of the genre way more. It was also funnier than I expected, with some real laugh out loud moments. The star turn here is Kate McKinnon who all but steals every scene of the film. There’s a great cameo by Gillian Anderson too, which again McKinnon milks for all that it’s worth. Stay for the end credits though, you won’t regret it.

7/10

A Bad Moms Christmas

2017, Uncategorized

A Bad Moms Christmas

 

Dir. John Lucas and Scott Moore
Staring: Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, Kathryn Hahn

 

Having accidentally stumbled upon Bad Moms on Amazon Prime, I was pleasantly surprised by its humorous and unconventional take on parenthood, which was relatively amusing and a fun watch for a Saturday afternoon. How this film got a sequel? I’m not quite sure, but in the run up to Christmas, and after a few drinks with dinner, I cautiously booked my ticket, hoping for a similar experience to the first and that’s pretty much what I got, but perhaps too similar?

The film starts with Mila Kunis’s character, Amy, sat on the stairs of her suburban home, explaining through voice over, that she’s ruined Christmas for her two children on their first Christmas since divorcing their dad. Flash back then takes us to several days before Christmas where we’re, in very quick succession, re-introduced to the other main characters and each of their Moms arriving unexpectedly for the festivities. Promptly, the daughters declare that they are ‘taking back Christmas’ from their moms, particularly Amy’s mom (played by Christine Baranski) whose disapproving thoughts of Amy’s mellow Christmas plans with the kids, are the primary focus of the film.

An enjoyable watch for most part, I can’t say it got me in the Christmas mood nor did it convince me that a sequel was warranted but I enjoyed seeing these three ladies working out their relationship problems just in time for Christmas and I found myself laughing along with the gags and generally enjoying the plot.

However, the first act of this film is very similar to the original, with the writers clearly harking back to the previously successful gags of moms getting drunk in public and lots of slow mo laughing and jumping up and down – at one point they even take all the kids to a trampoline park and there’s a good 10 minutes of middle aged women jumping in slow mo. A little uncomfortable and doesn’t move the plot forward, at all.

Perhaps not one for the big screen, but if you’ve got a spare 90 minutes of an afternoon, it’s a decent watch. It will never be a Christmas classic, in fact the season could have been interchanged for any holiday and the story could basically stay the same. It’s an enjoyable way to pass the evening if you want to leave your worries, and your brain at home.

5/10