In the action comedy BAD SPIES The acting goddesses Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis become spies against their will. And unfortunately that’s not as funny as it sounds. We’ll tell you more about this in our review of the film.
The Plot Summary
It’s Audrey (Mila Kunis)’s birthday – and her surprise celebration has to do without her boyfriend Drew Thayer (Justin Theroux). He has disappeared from the scene. Only her best friend Morgan (Kate McKinnon) manages to cheer up the depressed Audrey. When the women threaten to burn all of Drew’s things via text message, he suddenly finds himself back on the mat. He excitedly explains that he is a spy and that he had to run away to protect Audrey. But now it’s too late: he unintentionally drags Audrey and Morgan into his everyday working life. They are soon pursued by a few professional killers who are after a USB stick that they suspect is in their friends’ possession. A hunt begins, once across the pond and then across Europe…
Movie explanation of the ending
Unsuspecting normal people who stumble into an action story, preferably one about sophisticated, hardened spies – that’s a relatively often used film vehicle. From the Jerry Bruckheimer production “Bad Company” to “The Joneses: Spies Next Door” with Isla Fisher, Gal Gadot, Jon Hamm and Zach Galifianakis. Although Hollywood tries this scam again and again, it rarely leads to hefty income. In addition to these two genre representatives, “Bad Spies” with “Bad Moms” star Mila Kunis and “Ghostbusters” heroine Kate McKinnon was also not a US box office hit. Although the comedy has a few plus points, this failure is also unfortunately understandable. Director Susanna Fogel (“Life Partners”) isn’t the biggest fan of action comedies himself. Why did she film one anyway? To correct a flaw in this genre that annoys some action comedies: In comedies that also have a significant amount of action, the stunts and shootings are often very weak. It’s like you don’t have to put in any effort when it comes to action when the film is generally more about laughs.
Morgan (Kate McKinnon) left and Audrey (Mila Kunis).
In “Bad Spies” Fogel therefore draws on the full potential: the European foray originally titled “The Spy Who Dumped Me” is not content with a few shallow shootings and chases in which the handbrake remains on. Instead, Fogel constructs relatively harsh action passages in which the main characters and best friends Audrey and Morgan initially put the villains to flight with complete ignorance and great luck, but gradually gain grit and skill. Not only do Audrey and Morgan leave a trail of destruction that Fogel can’t help but rattle, they also spray a lot of blood. “Bad Spies” has truly earned its 16+ age rating and makes last year’s action comedy colleague “Killer’s Bodyguard” with Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds look like a child’s birthday party. Ultimately, however, the climax is not one of bloody violence, but rather a car and motorcycle chase in which the motorcyclists are thrown around in a memorable, crashing manner.
However, the director misses the pepper that Fogel gave her agent comedy in the action passages in the implementation of the verbal exchanges. The weird, constantly chattering bundle of energy Kate McKinnon is left hanging several times by Fogel and editor Jonathan Schwartz: When the “Saturday Night Live” star unleashes one craziness after another, Schwartz and Fogel capture it at a shaky editing pace. McKinnon’s monologues and her dialogues with ensemble colleagues are often edited too hectically to draw humor from the spontaneity of the situation that develops on set, but the editing is repeatedly too careless for “Bad Spies” to concentrate on the barrage of pure verbal jokes. That means: Weird dialogue jokes get stuck awkwardly in the air several times before the scene continues. In the past, “Ghostbusters” and “Girls’ Night Out” found a variable rhythm that showcased McKinnon’s comedy talent much better.
Drew (Justin Theroux), Audrey’s ex, works at the CIA.
Although “Bad Spies” never really finds its rhythm in the dialogue joke sequences, the interaction between McKinnon and Kunis is a plus point: They are best friends who may briefly argue, but ultimately always have each other’s back , believable and, whenever the film’s pace doesn’t go against them, they have a fundamental joy in interaction that earns their characters sympathy points. Nevertheless, they do not soften the sometimes radical changes of direction in the script, which sometimes aims at the funny bone through pure coarseness, sometimes through sheer, naive silliness and then more through genre swipes. Fogel and her co-writer David Iserson never really reconcile the various comedic approaches in their script, which in turn damages the characters’ credibility and thus slows down the tension. The purely functional acting of Sam Heughan as our heroines’ companion and the rather brittle coolness of Justin Theroux as Drew Thayer also inhibit the potential. Tyler Bates, the composer behind “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Deadpool 2” who delivers efficient but often quite interchangeable melodies, delivers one of his more striking scores here.
Conclusion: An action comedy in which the action is stronger (and harder) than the humor: “Bad Spies” earns a few sympathy points through the interaction between Kate McKinnon and Mila Kunis, but in the end too many gags go down the drain.
“Bad Spies” can be seen in USA cinemas nationwide from August 30th.