Hit the ground running. Pull your audience into the world you have created. This should be the goal of every filmmaker. A goal that was definitely achieved by Susanna Fogel, the director and co-writer of this delightful, action spy caper. The start of this movie feels like it could easily be the opening scene in a Bond/Bourne film. The action scenes were very well choreographed with very little shaky cam and inspiring cinematography. You felt right in the middle of it. However, what sets this film apart from the aforementioned spy films is that it is not just an action film but a comedy as well. So as you are enjoying Justin Theroux, the titular spy Drew, punch dudes in the face and run through marketplaces, you are also shown Mila Kunis’ character Audrey lamenting that Drew has dumped her and subsequently burning his stuff. The juxtaposition of comedy and action throughout the film keeps the story fun and exciting, never knowing if you will be getting a fast paced car chase or a Kate McKinnon physical comedy master class.
Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon) are two best friends who get swept up in the world of international espionage when they find out Audrey’s ex-boyfriend was a spy. The girls’ friendship is the grounding force of this movie and Kunis and McKinnon’s chemistry was very palpable. You believed that they were lifelong friends. They played off of each other so well, with Mila playing the more relatable funny friend against Kate’s wacky, free-spirited personality. However, Mila definitely held her own with the Saturday Night Live legend. I feel Kunis has definitely found her comedy niche with this most recent film and her previous work Bad Moms. McKinnon has not really parlayed her SNL success to the big screen as of yet, but this is her most well-rounded and satisfying outing to date.
The supporting cast is a fun mixed bag of newcomers accompanied by a tv legend. Sam Heughan, of STARZ Outlander fame and stand up comedian Hasan Minhaj play CIA agents whose boss is none other than Dana Scully herself, Gillian Anderson. Heughan gets a lot to do in this movie from stunt work to some back & forth comedy with Kunis & McKinnon. It was a nice change of pace from the period drama he is mostly known for. Anderson deftly played her part of “The Beyonce of the Government” as stated by McKinnon’s character Morgan. She served her purpose but I wish Anderson was utilized a bit more. Her character was so mysterious that I would have loved more scenes with her, especially playing off Kate McKinnon. A standout for me was newcomer, Ivanna Sakhno, who played a model/gymnast/assassin. Her facial expressions and physical skills were a joy to watch.
This was a fun summer movie that didn’t take itself too seriously. It reminded me of previous Melissa McCarthy films such as Spy and The Heat along with the remake of Get Smart. It didn’t quite live up to it’s potential but even though it didn’t land where it perhaps wanted to, it was enjoyable nonetheless.
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