Female lead comedies are so notoriously hit and miss that, at this point, it kind of seems like common sense to just avoid them: for every Girls Trip there are ten truly terrible Amy Schumer movies just waiting to ruin your girl’s night. Thankfully then, The Spy Who Dumped Me is a rare safe-bet: perhaps not the absolute funniest or most original comedy on the market, it still stands well above the rest while resisting the cloying cynicism that so often defines its ilk.
As Audrey, Mila Kunis is newly 30, newly single after being dumped via text by her hot, seemingly normal boyfriend, and frustrated with her lot in life. When said boyfriend turns out to have been a spy, however, Audrey and her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) wind up embroiled in an international conspiracy and forced to become masters of espionage themselves.
As lady comedy goes, it’s a fairly standard plot – yet, where recent attempts like Rough Night and I Feel Pretty seem determined to shoe-horn suspect messages about women’s empowerment into their weak, weak jokes (acquiescing? Just don’t!), The Spy Who Dumped Me is mercifully free from the usual baggage, focusing instead on nicely staged, fast-paced gags that are actually funny. Directed and co-written by Susanna Fogel, it remains remarkable how subtle and effective a different point of view behind the camera can make – even if the effect is just to lighten the load.
With great comedic performances (particularly by McKinnon), good jokes, and even a degree of self-awareness regarding its inevitable associations with neoliberal #girlboss-ery (women can be terrorists too, if they just set their minds to it!), The Spy Who Dumped Me is elevated beyond the usual condescending fare to be a genuinely fun and funny watch.