Director: Susanna Fogel
Cast: Mila Kunis, Kate McKinnon, Justin Theroux, Gillian Anderson, Hasan Minhaj
RunTime: 1 hr 56 mins
Rating: NC16 (Violence and Coarse Language)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 2 August 2018
Synopsis: Audrey (Mila Kunis) and Morgan (Kate McKinnon), two thirty-year-old best friends in Los Angeles, are thrust unexpectedly into an international conspiracy when Audrey’s ex-boyfriend shows up at their apartment with a team of deadly assassins on his trail. Surprising even themselves, the duo jump into action, on the run throughout Europe from assassins and a suspicious-but-charming British agent, as they hatch a plan to save the world.
It seemed like a good idea to bring Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon together in a buddy comedy.
The very attractive Kunis, who is also known as Mrs Ashton Kutcher, delivered memorable performances as the devious supporting character in Black Swan (2010) and the empathetic Wicked Witch of the West in Oz the Great and Powerful (2013). McKinnon, who was hilarious as Dr Jillian Holtzmann in the reboot Ghostbusters (2016), is also an Emmy Award winner for her very funny work on Saturday Night Live.
Why does this action comedy feel so bland and uninspired then? The two stars, who are commendable in their own rights, just doesn’t seem to have the chemistry to hit it off on screen.
Kunis plays an everyday woman who works as a cashier in a grocery store. After getting dumped via text by her boyfriend (the underrated Justin Theroux), she becomes heartbroken and embarrassed. Enter McKinnon’s character, who is the best friend anyone can count on during difficult times.
Things get a little complicated when the ex turns out to be a spy, and the story now involves angry mobsters, violent assassins and yes, you’ve guessed it – a flash drive containing extremely important information. The 116 minute movie then sees the two female protagonists setting off on a whirlwind tour of the European continent and getting into heaps of trouble. In the mix is also a handsome stranger (Sam Heughan), an annoying agent (Hasan Minhaj) and a powerful female boss (the much missed Gillian Anderson).
The movie tries hard to be too many things: a buddy comedy, a spy action thriller and a European travel catalogue. Unfortunately, that also causes the popcorn flick to lose focus and viewers may not be too welcoming about the continual change in tone. One moment you care about the friendship between the two girls and want to cheer on the awesomeness of girl power, and the next moment you are shocked by the surprisingly high number of body count (in one stunning scene, a bad guy was offed when his head gets thrown into a pot of boiling cheese fondue). A while later, you are enjoying the picturesque scenery of Europe, hoping that you and your best friend can go there for a road trip soon.
The best bits of the movie go to McKinnon, who effortlessly deliver her punchy one liners. They are chuckle worthy and remind you of her celebrity impressions of Justin Bieber, Ellen DeGeneres and Hillary Clinton (go search online if you haven’t seen these side splitting comedic acts). Meanwhile, Kunis puts in effort to catch up but you just get the feeling that something is holding her back from being outright comical.
Overall, we still take our hats off female director Susanna Fogel for pulling this off. It is not often we see a female driven spy movie that dares to step beyond the safe boundaries by incorporating foul humour and coarse language. Thanks to McKinnon’s charisma, this is still an enjoyable ride that allows you to escape reality for two hours.
(Kate McKinnon shines with her brand of hilarity in this serviceable action comedy)
Review by John Li