The story begins, and Kim is chosen to relocate to Afghanistan to actively report on the war and other related stories. As one of the few unmarried, childless people in their bureau, they figure she is a good fit. Personally, she's hit a wall in life, depressed by her lackluster “puff piece” journalistic assignments and bored in the relationship with her dead beat boyfriend (Josh Charles). Off to the middle east she goes, arriving with trepidations and submerging into the action, with the guide of her interpreter Fahim (played excellently by Christopher Abbott- this guy is a star). She learns the ropes of the battle from a Marine general (Billy Bob Thornton), while always friendly with her fellow journalists (Margot Robbie & Martin Freeman) looking for the big stories.
Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (directors of last years con-drama- Focus) and written by Fey's 30 Rock co-writer Robert Carlock, WTF has a quick witted charm. The film never allows the dire situation of war or the countries mistreatment of women to bog the narrative down. While keenly aware of the seriousness of it all, Fey's sarcastic Liz Lemon style finds a way to never offend, bringing smiles to the tragic situations. The film's opening shows an inebriated Baker and her fellow press mates, partying hard to the tune of House of Pain's “Jump Around”, because yes, even conflict journalists like to get a little wasted in the Middle East, while a vicious war surrounds them.
Fey brings a maturity to the role, as her performance highlights the former SNL members many talents. We are used to seeing her rely on her wit and comedic timing, but here she shows flexibility and an ability to pull of character arc and development. Her humor peeks in, but takes a back seat to the more important task of portraying Kim as a real person, who becomes tangled in the addictive nature of an adrenaline filled career. This film even saves a bit of time for romance with Freeman, but only a taste, and not a main course.
I certainly felt Whiskey struggled to find a resolution to all of the stories that it juggled, but I value it's truthful approach to the human nature of it all. Either way, I couldn't be mad, I was just happy to see a movie that showcases Fey for the amazing talent that she is. More movies like this please, Whiskey Tango- over and out.
Written by: Leo Brady
MOVIE: WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT
STARRING: TINA FEY; MARGOT ROBBIE; BILLY BOB THORNTON; CHRISTOPHER ABBOTT; MARTIN FREEMAN
DIRECTED BY: GLENN FICARRA; JOHN REQUA
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 Stars (Out of 4)
In the new comedy Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Tina Fey has found a role that (finally) fits her 30 Rock blend of humor, maturity, and smarts, while raising her acting bar in the process. Based on Kim Barker's memoir, The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Fey thrives here, staring as Kim Baker- a network copy editor, who in 2003 leaves her desk job behind, to become a conflict reporter in war-torn Kabul. Although it is not without flaws, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a movie that finds a way to bring dark humor to a profession that covers those not-so-funny stories.