Monday, July 4, 2016

Now on Amazon Prime: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016) - Directed by Glenn Ficarra, John Requa; Written by Robert Carlock; Starring Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina, Christopher Abbott, Billy Bob Thornton, Josh Charles.

By Kenny Howell

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot probably wishes it was a little more poignant and touching. It really wants to be a lot of things.

Most of the time when that is the case, the movie can seem muddled and a mess, but Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy Stupid Love), do all those little pieces well enough that it helps Whiskey Tango Foxtrot overcome it.

The movie stars Tina Fey as Kim Baker, a burnt out journalist who spends most of her time writing puff pieces in New York City. The opportunity arises for her to go be an embedded reporter in Afghanistan, and seeking a change, she heads to a war zone.

There, she realizes that it is the place for her. Not just because of the adrenaline rush of covering stories in a war zone, but also because of the people there. Fellow reporters pass the time mostly by overcompensating in fun, alcohol and sex, but serious about their profession. The overabundance and purpose is what Baker needs, but it might become too much for her to handle.

Fey is in a bit of crossroads in her career, and this is probably the direction she needs to go. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot wants to be M*A*S*H*, Catch-22 or other war time comedies, and while it is quite funny, and lacks the depth of those. However, that is what would showcase Fey's ability. She is perfect at playing that fine line between a smart, powerful woman and a woman who can't keep it together. More intelligent roles like this would do her good. It is one of the reasons that Sisters, her recent comedy with Amy Poehler, didn't work out. She's not dumb, and as talented as she is, she is not going to be able to convince you that for a whole movie. Sarah Palin sketches only last a few minutes.

Ficarra and Requa do the best they can with the material written by frequent Fey collaborator Robert Carlock, and get the best out of Fey. Hopefully, it is a sign of where her future is heading.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is now streaming on Amazon Prime.

Rating: ***

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