Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

Based on a memoir, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is the “true story” of Kim Baker, an American journalist sent to Afghanistan to be a war reporter despite having absolutely no experience (being unmarried and childless was short straw enough). In Afghanistan she is immediately confronted with the concept ftf-11806r_2_wide-54dfd259b4cfc0e148859666f964e90321c3fd1b-s900-c85of “Kabul cute” – women who were a 4 back home in New York are suddenly 10s. Tina Fey plays the 4. Margot Robbie plays a 15.

Afghanistan is windy and gritty, basically a forgotten war now that Iraq is a better news story, but the more she sticks with it, the more Kim elicits candid remarks from her subjects. Billy Bob Thornton plays the guy who finds her nothing but a nuisance, admonishing her not to sleep with his marines.

It’s actually not a bad movie, considering it bombed at the box office. What went wrong? Possibly people didn’t like to see one of their favourite comediennes amid such a serious backdrop – it’s hard to laugh at limbs being blown off. And the very same war fatigue mentioned in the movie may contribute not wanting to hear about it in theatres, either. Bill Murray’s Rock the Kasbah suffered the same fate. And maybe Tina Fey’s just not ready to cross over genres, or to headline her own movie alone. Martin Freeman was great support in the movie but didn’t get any screen time in the trailers. And Whiskey_Tango_Foxtrot_reviewthe trailer, for that matter, played up the movie’s comic aspect even though the movie’s a dramedy at best, lobbing one-liners like hand grenades into a pretty grim war zone.

But Fey actually does well, if you give her the chance. I thought she and Freeman were great together. The movie just doesn’t have a lot to say. It’s not a commentary on the war so much as one woman’s less glamorous version of Eat, Pray, Love. The real Kim Barker never broke any major news stories so there’s not a lot of insight and not much authenticity. I think the script had some great pieces but suffered from abrupt lurches in tone. Overall though, I’m glad I gave it my time, even if I didn’t Lima Mike Foxtrot Alpha Oscar.

 

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20 thoughts on “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

  1. reocochran

    You found flaws but you liked it anyway! So did I, Jay! It gave my 30 year old daughter a glimpse of early female journalism and the dangers involved. Thanks for this, I liked the review! 🙂

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  2. kmSalvatore

    I saw this on yahoo being advertised, I waited. And nothing, I thought I would have liked to have seen it , cuz like Fraggy., wth there was s camera in it 😉
    Oh well.. Another one to watch for on cable I guess, cuz it ain’t coming here
    Thanks Jay

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    1. Jay Post author

      I have no military background – but with farmers and truckers in the family, the CB radio was a mainstay and it proves useful there too 😉

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    1. Jay Post author

      Yeah, I think shes up for pretty much anything. I’d like to see her try it out more. I cant remember the title of the movie where she was in an ensemble cast sitting shiva for her dead father (with Jason Bateman among others)…she was good there but there were too many stars and not enough parts so I never got a handle on that movie. But I think if you can excel at comedy, you can do pretty much anything. And she’s quite watchable.

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