Rated R because of language, violence, and lewd conversations. I thought this movie was pretty tame. Tonally, it reads as a very tame film. But there's some great gore grossout humor at times. I think that's why the jokes really land because the movie doesn't feel like it is going to kill someone in an absolutely gruesome way. There's also some really over-the-top nudity at one point. It was, again, to go for the grossout joke. But keep all this in mind. It's an R-rated comedy.
DIRECTOR: Susanna Fogel
I've started exercising to get out of this slump. I think pushing myself into a routine with moments of real accomplishment might get me back to writing normally. But then again, I posted one of my accomplishments on Facebook, so I'm constantly switching between writing and seeing how many people like what I do. It's unhealthy, but it is normal. It's been hard to watch movies with the wife. There's so much stuff going on in our lives and we want upbeat, kind of dumb stuff. The Spy Who Dumped Me fits a lot of criteria for our mood right now. It's not a masterpiece, so we don't mind pausing it from time-to-time to deal with the constant small fires we are dealing with. It's funny, which is what we need right now. There's nothing subtle or depressing in the movie. Also, it's on Hulu, so it has the lowest stakes a movie could have right now. As backhanded all of that was, it kind of is the perfect movie for us. I'll go as far as to say that it's a good movie.
I think that the spy genre always kind of seems like low hanging fruit for comedy. The best of the bunch, and I will fight you Peter Sellers Casino Royale fans, is the Austin Powers franchise. Mind you, I'm terrified to watch Austin Powers today because I really can guess that it probably doesn't hold up. But we keep seeing the same plots over and over again in the spy comedy. Someone who is not involved in the world of spying (Austin Powers doesn't apply because it is a send up of James Bond other actual spy movies) accidentally gets a hold of a Macguffin. They spend the movie avoiding death and capture through outrageous luck. There are pretty telegraphed tricks and turns. But ultimately, the fish out of water defeats the ultimate bad guy and saves the world through happenstance. It's fun. I get it. The Spy Who Dumped Me does all of this. It's The Man Who Knew Too Little. In this case, we have two people who shouldn't be in this situation. But I give The Spy Who Dumped Me some credit. It actually somewhat subverts the formula. I don't know if it is an intentional break of formula, but it does one thing that oddly works. Mind you, if they make a sequel, they are definitely doing this plot point. There's something about the two friends being in an intense situation where their friendship is tested. One of the characters can't get past her hangups and the two are supposed to split up. When they split up, one of them discovers something that changes the way that they view their mission, causing them to come together and make their friendship stronger. Believe it or not, The Spy Who Dumped Me doesn't do this. They just...stay friends the entire time. I don't know why this makes me so happy. I think anything that reminds me that the movie isn't the same as every other movie goes a long way to me giving it a strong thumbs up. Again, I can't stress enough that these movies are the perfect things for me right now. But having them stay together as friends is really an interesting way to tell a story.
I don't know what it is about Kate McKinnon. I really like her. I don't know if I like her in everything, but I really like her. A little while, I commented on her role in Yesterday. That movie was so excellent, but Kate McKinnon sticks out like a sore thumb. Her brand of humor just didn't gel with the movie. But Kate McKinnon makes meh movies pretty good. I was thoroughly disappointed by Ghostbusters: Answer the Call. But Kate McKinnon? I'm going to rewatch the movie just for her. Also the fact that MoviesAnywhere gave it to me for free. I don't know what it is about her particular brand of humor. She actually might be kind of a comic genius. I'm thinking of the comedy greats and a lot of them tend to leave it all out there on the floor. Kate McKinnon does that. But at the same time, there is also something remarkably smart about her comedy. It doesn't seem particularly high brow, but there's some real craftsmanship with what she does. Yeah, she has on-screen chemistry with Mila Kunis. I can't deny that the casting of this was on point. But Kunis is the safe bet in this one. McKinnon's Morgan really pushes the lines of likability. There's almost nothing relatable with McKinnon's character, and that's okay. Morgan is the equivalent of Ernest P. Worrell. I know. I'm really stretching the bounds of anything credible right now. Ernest, despite being a completely different beast from Morgan, exist in this reality where people accept his very odd choices and behaviors. Ernest, mind you, grew huge and had a whole mess of side characters with their own hangups and eccentricities. But Morgan is straight up bizarre. There's no way to really read her character that makes a lick of sense. Morgan, at times, is vulnerable and normal. When her walls are down, we understand why she exists in this grounded reality. But there are moments where she decides to trapeze fight a girl. That happens in the movie. She also has a hard time determining characters in a Cirque de Soliel show to being real people. Like, it's all for humor. What I'm doing right now is overanalyzing the whole thing and dumping water on it because I need to get a word count. But it's so odd to think that this character can have this range. As an offshoot of that, Morgan regularly kills people. She's not traumatized by her actions, which makes the absurdity all the more hilarious.
This analysis has been like pulling teeth. I have been slowly writing this for days. Think about it. I used to write one of these a day. That means I'd watch a movie and sit down and write for forty minutes or so. But this guy, geez. I thought about what was really holding me back. I feel like I have no insights. I've written about way more simple movies than The Spy Who Dumped Me. Why, then, am I having problems with this one? Perhaps this one is going to go a little bit off the rails, but I think that I need to write about this. It may make this the least objective analysis of all of them, but I realized what this film kind of did for me. My wife and I have been going through stuff. I don't want to get too personal. Needless to say, it's no one's fault. It's about tragedy and that's about as much as I can say in the course of a blog that's about a silly comedy. I talked about how The Spy Who Dumped Me was the perfect pick for what we were going through. One of the things about tragedy is that it pulls and tugs and transforms so secretly that you don't even realize it is happening. We spend so much time focusing on our emotions and the tragedy itself that we don't notice the little changes. I'm the kind of guy who has to throw my phone across the couch when watching a movie. I fundamentally believe that film needs undivided attention and that I'm way too tempted just to let myself be distracted by the vapidness that is Facebook. But while watching this movie, we were constantly getting phone calls and dealing with stuff. I watched this movie with my wife in an attempt to get some degree of normalcy. It kind of worked. For a few hours, it kind of worked. I saw my wife laugh and smile. I loved it. But then we'd get a text message and the movie would pause. We would come back to the movie the next day and the same thing would happen. Then, during a slow section, our brain returned to the tragedy we were dealing with. We would talk and comfort one another. Then we kept watching. That's not the movie that Susanna Fogel intended. When she made this movie, I'm sure she saw us sitting in a darkened theater, chowing down on Buncha Crunch and Junior Mints. She wanted to have this be a treat. It was to take people who were in the correct headspace and make them go even beyond that. But we weren't being normal. We weren't being ourselves. We're not ourselves now. We're better than we were, but we're not great. Do you understand how much I want to be back to normal? I'm constantly praying for it. My normal, boring life is exactly what I want and everything around me seems to want to fight me on it. I know, people grow. People become different from tragedies. But I loved my life. I still love my life. But I want my purpose again. I want to have some degree of stability. I want my growth to come from positive directions. Watching a movie was wonderful. In the moments that we weren't thinking about sadness, we just lived. The Spy Who Dumped Me, unfortunately for the film itself, could have been replaced with a dozen other movies off the top of my head. I have some shrink wrapped blu-rays that I got as gifts not that long ago that I'm dying to watch. But film kind of does that. I'm not covering new stuff, but I've never wanted to say it more. Yeah, film is entertainment a lot of the time. I get that. But just being able to forget the crap that's going on is so invaluable. I know that I laughed about spies in fifteen minute intervals before we were thrown back to our real lives. But those fifteen minutes were so important. It let me remember that the foundation of our lives were still intact. My wife could still laugh, so I could still laugh. I wonder what would have happened if we were masochistic enough to pick a sad film. There's probably something therapeutic there too. But if I don't really have too much insight into the deeper meaning of The Spy Who Dumped Me, it's probably because I didn't want to see the deeper level of the film. I will always advocate for watching things critically. But for the past month, maybe I just need to have a movie be a movie.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.