The most surprising thing about the action-comedy The Spy Who Dumped Me is that it racks up a higher body count in 117 minutes than the comparatively somber stunt spectacular Mission: Impossible — Fallout does in 147. It's one of a pitifully small number of movies this summer directed by a woman (feature film sophomore Susanna Fogel, who co-wrote and directed 2014's Life Partners); she and David Iserson wrote the script to this farce, which stars Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon as roommates drawn semi-willingly into an international conspiracy.
I take no pleasure in executing my sworn duty to inform you that the movie is neither as thrilling as the well-coiffed 1977 James Bond adventure The Spy Who Loved Me nor as funny as (or any less juvenile than) its 1999 Mike Myers parody The Spy Who Shagged Me. McKinnon, as always, is an unhinged delight, but she and Kunis just don't have enough chemistry to push this grisly tale of friendship-conquers-all over the hump.
With its R-rating and its frequent shootouts, fights, and car chases, Dumped clearly wants to channel the winning Paul Feig-directed Melissa McCarthy vehicle Spy. But it lacks that film's righteous zeal for demolishing sexist stereotypes, in the workplace and in the movies. It also doesn't surprise us by letting any of its key players do anything we haven't seen them do many times before. Remember how great it was when Spy gave the usually stone-faced tough guy Jason Statham a chance to be a goofball?
Kunis fairly sleepwalks through her scenes, unable to vibrate on the same comic frequency as McKinnon or Gillian Anderson, as a senior MI6 official. The Daily Show's Hasan Minhaj is irritating but unfunny as a Harvard-grad C.I.A. agent who can't stop mentioning his alma mater, and Outlander's Sam Heughan is his handsome but blank MI6 counterpart, forced by the script into an unpersuasive flirtation with the Kunis character. A parade of walk-ons from several generations of beloved TV comedians only underscores that the movie is overlong by at least 20 minutes.