In the Dark: McKinnon still the best, even when playing second fiddle

Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon in Susanna Fogel's The Spy Who Dumped Me

‘The Spy Who Dumped Me’

Starring: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon

Directed by: Susanna Fogel

Rated: R

In this female-centric buddy pic with a questionable story line but some insanely funny bits provided mostly by the second banana, Kate McKinnon, the bigger mystery here that who the bad guy is really is why McKinnon only gets offered supporting roles. This is someone who has won not one but two Emmys for her work as a regular cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” and yet she keeps playing second fiddle in her theatrical roles.

Here she plays Morgan, BFF to Mila Kunis’s Audrey, two 30-somethings making their way in Los Angeles. Audrey’s boyfriend, Drew (Justin Theroux), has just dumped her via text message but what she doesn’t know is he is really working for the CIA and is being chased through Prague by bad guys when Morgan decides to call him on Audrey’s behalf to tell him they are setting fire to his belongings.

Within 24 hours, he’s lying dead in the living room in their apartment, and the bad guys are still coming. With his dying breath, Drew asks Audrey to deliver what appears to be a cheap plastic trophy to someone in Vienna restaurant or else to world will be at risk.

From there, this just keeps getting sillier as Audrey and Morgan make their way across Europe with the help of MI6 agent Sebastian (Sam Heughan), who they really don’t know if they can trust. Hot on their trail is gymnast/assassin Verne, whose mission it is to stop them, even though through with no particular strategy or skill, these two dingbats manage to elude her.

So the plot is pretty lame, but if you can take its silly inanity for the sake of watching McKinnon riff her way through scene after scene, then you’re in for some laughs. Not every gag finds its mark, but when they do, it’s laugh-out-loud funny. It’s all in her reactions to everything going on around her, while Kunis gamely plays the straight man, make that … woman, even though her name is over the title.

It’s nice to see Heughan out of his kilt and long locks, as he is better known for his role as Jamie in “Outlander.” Mere minutes after meeting him, Audrey is like, “Drew who?” even though his body is still warm. In one of the funniest ongoing bits, Morgan develops a serious crush on Wendy (Gillian Anderson), Sebastian’s boss. When the two gal pals are brought in for questioning McKinnon’s unabashed reaction to her is hilarious.

The incongruence in this movie is the violence, which at times seems really gratuitous and unnecessary. It leaves you wondering if this is conflicted about being a buddy comedy or a serious spy thriller, when really it’s neither. There are a few scenes that seem like they belong in “Sicario” rather than this, and it’s enough to jolt you.

Directed by Susanna Fogel, this is the second movie this summer to have female stars and director. The other, “Ocean’s 8,” will no doubt come away from this season with higher earnings and better reviews, but it didn’t have Kate McKinnon, now did it?

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