Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)
Starring: Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Christopher Abbott, Alfred Molina, Billy Bob Thornton
Directed by: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Written by: Robert Carlock
Rating: R Running Time: 1 hr. 52 min
I wasn’t sure what to expect with Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Would this be a comedy with far reaching consequences for its lead protagonist, or a serious dissertation about the war in Afghanistan and journalism, that tells the occasional joke? In the end, it’s not really effective as either of those things, and unfortunately, it’s also not very entertaining.
How it fails, however, is hard to pin down, and to actually label this movie an outright failure is a touch harsh. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is well acted and it’s competently assembled. Tina Fey anchors the story decently enough (though she never quite makes you forget where she came from), and I’d be lying if I wasn’t a least a little invested in her character’s motivations as she escapes the doldrums of her nine-to-five existence, and jumps at the opportunity to break out and take a risk.
That being said, this is awfully predictable. I was expecting Kim Barker (Tina Fey) to go ‘too far’ and get someone hurt. I also wasn’t surprised by the fish/water moments as the green New Yorker collides with Sharia loving conservatism. These moments are to be expected in a story like this, but here they felt like points to check off a production list, rather than organic elements that build character.
The beats this story moves too are very familiar, and it never quite settles on what kind of film it wants to be. This is neither Good Morning Vietnam or Zero Dark Thirty, so never really takes off as a comedy or a serious look at female journalists trying to work in the Middle East.
Don’t expect a lot of humor as this leans to the serious. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is rated R for language, drug use, mild sexual content and violent war images.
Christopher Abbott’s performance as Kim Baker’s translator, Fahim Ahmadzai.