If Barbie made a spy movie

Tortured plot: A reclusive author of cheap spy novels (a zaftig Bryce Dallas Howard) becomes increasingly unsettled when real-world events begin to mirror her new novel, which she hasn’t finished writing yet.

If they awarded an Oscar for best-produced, most misleading trailer, this one would be a shoo-in. Go ahead, click on it. Looks like something you’d pay to see, no?


I guess I’ve just never been on Matthew Vaughn’s wavelength. His early work was kind of fun. 2004’s Layer Cake helped launch Daniel Craig’s career, and Kick-Ass did the same for Chloe Grace Moretz in 2010. Kingsmen: The Secret Service, in 2014, did okay, mostly due to Colin Firth and Samuel L. Jackson. But the two ensuing King-something movies were cartoonish, juvenile and vaguely off-putting. Warning: there are two more of these in the pipeline. Don’t expect to read about them here.

But this mirthless turkey is his worst yet.

Joining Howard in the cast are Sam Rockwell and Henry Cavill, who really needs a new agent after four box-office bombs, and a CG cat. Also John Cena, Ariana DeBose, Catherine O’Hara and Bryan Cranston, but mostly in cameos or minor roles. Dua Lipa too. For, you know, the posters.

Does Vaughn still think hyper-contrived spy spoofs are entertaining? Jeez, the subgenre was pretty much played out long ago by Maxwell Smart and Austin Powers. I’ll tell you no more because 1) I don’t do spoilers, even for a movie I highly recommend you skip, and 2) It’s not very interesting. Not even
dumb fun. (139 min)