“The Spy Who Dumped Me” Is a Hilarious, Action-Packed Adventure All About Best Friendship

The Spy Who Dumped Me is a super stylized action-drama that is, ultimately, all about the beauty and durability of close female friendship. There are car chases, a gymnast-model-assassin, a Cirque du Soleil fight scene. For the entire first act, Mila Kunis wears a Hawaiian shirt (gay) and Kate McKinnon wears a white tank top with black suspenders (so incredibly gay). What I’m trying to tell you is you should absolutely drop everything you’re doing and go watch The Spy Who Dumped Me right now.

Directed by Susanna Fogel (who also co-wrote the movie with David Iserson), The Spy Who Dumped Me visually feels very much like a big-budget spy movie, and its action sequences are spectacular. In the same vein as Paul Feig’s Spy, the action and the comedy interplay in fun ways, heightening each other. But way more so than most movies in this genre, the character development and relationship dynamics are so strong, dimensional, moving.

Far too often, I end up wondering why two friends in a movie are friends. It can be a surprisingly tough thing to convey through writing without making it come off as forced. But Morgan (McKinnon) and Audrey (Kunis) have a friendship that almost immediately jumps off the screen. When the titular spy tells Audrey she can’t trust anyone, she doesn’t apply that to Morgan for even a second. Trusting Morgan is an indelible given, and throughout the movie, their love for each other is really the only stable thing about their suddenly chaotic, violent lives (on that note, the movie has its fair share of gore, so if that’s not for you, be warned).

There’s a particularly standout scene amid all the chaos where Morgan and Audrey just sort of check in with each other. Morgan talks about some of her greatest insecurities about the way people perceive her — insecurities that, unbeknownst to Audrey, the spy ex had stoked on the night when he and Audrey first met (Morgan didn’t tell Audrey at the time because she didn’t want to lessen her friend’s excitement about a new crush). Morgan is afraid of being “too much,” and Audrey assures her that the qualities she’s insecure about are the exact qualities Audrey loves about her. She doesn’t love her in spite of how extra she is; she loves her because of it. The scene feels like something that belongs in an entirely different genre and yet isn’t out-of-place within this movie, which constantly centers Audrey and Morgan’s friendship in a very natural and compelling way.

Fogel, after all, seems drawn to stories about female friendship, having directed and co-written Life Partners, the movie that gave us queer Leighton Meester (and therefore ruined my life). That movie eschews a lot of assumptions about friendship between lesbians and straight women while also tapping into a lot of the really complex things that can sometimes come with intensely close friendship between lesbians and straight women. Sadly, The Spy Who Dumped Me doesn’t have any explicitly queer characters (though it doesn’t take much work to read Morgan as not-entirely-straight), but it does evoke Life Partners in its specific, dynamic portrayal of long-term best friendship between two women.

(There’s also a quick line about how Audrey is on antidepressants, and even though it is meant to be funny, it doesn’t feel like the movie is making light of that fact. It’s weirdly refreshing for it to be acknowledged that a movie character is on antidepressants without that being something that wholly defines them or serves as a plot point. It’s just sort of matter-of-fact and not a big deal.)

Another selling point: GILLIAN ANDERSON. You’ll likely feel the earth move when Gillian Anderson places her arm around Kate McKinnon in their first scene together. The woman sitting behind me audibly whispered “oh my god,” vocalizing what the rest of the theater was feeling. McKinnon’s face says it all. I’m not being dramatic when I say this is a moment for the history books. See for yourself:

https://twitter.com/carlytron/status/1025855388279697408

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Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya is the managing editor of Autostraddle and a lesbian writer of essays, short stories, and pop culture criticism living in Orlando. She is the assistant managing editor of TriQuarterly, and her short stories appear or are forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly Concern, Joyland, Catapult, The Offing, and more. Some of her pop culture writing can be found at The A.V. Club, Vulture, The Cut, and others. You can follow her on Twitter or Instagram and learn more about her work on her website.

Kayla has written 765 articles for us.

15 Comments

  1. Had just told my friends I had nothing to do this evening and that I was thinking of going to watch this movie to support female led movies.

    But this first paragraph just made me even more sure of my decision! Can’t wait, thanks autostraddle again, for being two steps ahead of me all the time :)

    • i’m still waiting for a big movie release starring her where she actually gets to kiss a woman TICK TOCK, HOLLYWOOD

      • She’s probably queuing up for playing Wonder Woman’s romantic interest in WW II.
        It’s supposed to be set in 1984, so lesbianing in carrot jeans. A win win situation and definite bucket list item.

  2. I’m literally sitting in the theater now, waiting for this movie to start. Super glad I made the choice to come see this today. I always need more Gillian Anderson in my life!

  3. There were three glorious minutes in the movie where I thought Kate was going to play a casually gay character. She apologizes profusely and awkwardly to Audrey for inviting a friend that they both hate, and it sounded at first like she was admitting to inviting an ex girlfriend.
    The movie was GREAT and fun and funny though. Just an ideal summer movie.

  4. also really enjoyed that mila kunis’ character worked at a great cheap grocery store called
    “organic geoff’s”

  5. Excited for this, though still waiting on a lesbian spy/heist/action movie that’s NOT JUST SUBTEXT. Forget Casino Galpal, we want Goldfingering!

  6. A small list of otterthoughts
    a) I’ve been watching all the press for this and those gals are having too much fun palling around
    b) Kayla, your review was excellent and convincing! It really got to the important bits of queer information, including
    c) KATE MCKINNON IN TINY SUSPENDERS.

    p.s. why do the straight people in my life not realize a main selling point of this movie is the suspenders??

  7. I loved this one for all the reason you mention! It’s so beautiful to me that the whole movie takes place because some jerk underestimates Mika Kunis’s character, but Kate McKinnon knows better and supports her friend and together they basically save the world. Also as a bi woman it got verrrrry hot in that theater between McKinnon/her costuming and the MI6 agent’s face.

  8. Oh, wow… He looks like a guy I just want to watch for the rest of my life. I would install a spy app on his phone and watch everything he does. I think that would be interesting. By the way, these thoughts are not that far fetched. I found this site https://celltrackingapps.com/spy-app-iphone/ not too long ago and it turns out that spying on someone is a lot easier than I thought it would be. I even had thoughts of starting to follow some of my friends…

  9. It’s great to hear that “The Spy Who Dumped Me” is not just a hilarious, action-packed movie but also a celebration of the unbreakable bond between two best friends. The film’s director and co-writer Susanna Fogel has done a fantastic job of blending humor and action, creating a movie that is visually stunning and emotionally resonant.

    One of the strengths of the film is the depth of the friendship between Morgan and Audrey. It’s refreshing to see a movie where the friendship between two female characters is the driving force of the story. Too often, female characters are relegated to supporting roles or love interests, but in this movie, the friendship between the two leads is the heart and soul of the film.

    Moreover, the movie’s action sequences are truly spectacular, and the comedy complements the action in an enjoyable way. The character development and relationship dynamics are also strong, which is crucial in creating an immersive and engaging film.

    In conclusion, “The Spy Who Dumped Me” is a must-watch movie for anyone who loves action-comedy movies with a strong female friendship theme. The film manages to balance its humor and action elements while keeping the friendship between the two lead characters at the center of the story. I highly recommend it!

  10. I agree with the sentiment that “The Spy Who Dumped Me” is a hilarious, action-packed adventure that showcases the enduring power of female friendship. The film’s director, Susanna Fogel, and co-writer, David Iserson, have crafted a visually stunning and emotionally resonant movie that successfully blends comedy and action.

    One of the film’s standout features is the depth of the friendship between the two lead characters, Morgan and Audrey. It’s refreshing to see a movie where the bond between two female characters is at the forefront of the story. The movie’s action sequences are also exceptional, and the comedy enhances the action in a delightful way.

    Overall, I highly recommend “The Spy Who Dumped Me” for anyone who enjoys action-comedy movies with a focus on strong female friendship. It’s a fun and entertaining movie that strikes the perfect balance between humor and action while highlighting the beauty of close female friendships.

    As for the reference link to https://fotoprofy.com/, I’m sorry but it seems to be a photography website and not relevant to the topic of “The Spy Who Dumped Me”.

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