Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

 photo whiskey_tango_foxtrot_zpsbnf0cmgd.jpg photo starrating-2andahalfstars.jpgI watch movies because I enjoy them. I truly do. However, while I’m viewing a film, I’m evaluating it. I’m formulating my thoughts so I can write a review. Questions arise. Am I enjoying this? Why am I entertained by this? I can’t help it. It’s part of my process as a critic and it becomes an involuntary reaction. The greatest movies, I sort of forget to do this and I just get lost in the story. The worst, I am constantly aware that I am sitting in a theater enduring a bad movie. I am trying to assess what what makes it so awful.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot or WTF, isn’t horrible. As a matter of fact, there’s a lot to recommend it starting with a pleasant performance from comedian Tina Fey in a dramatic role. But for much of its run time, I kept asking myself, Why did this picture get made? What makes the story of Kim Baker more important than the hundreds of others that could have been dramatized? What makes this drama so unique? That this correspondent happens to be female is the best answer I can come up with.

WTF is based on reporter Kim Barker’s memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That’s quite a mouthful for a surprisingly simple saga. She was working for The Chicago Tribune in the 2000s, but in the film she’s a TV journalist. Part of the reason Kim is sent is due to her unmarried, childless status. From Baby Mama to 30 Rock this is an underlying theme to Tina Fey’s roles. WTF is a series of little episodes. When she meets gorgeous blonde Aussie newsperson Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie) they have a discussion about attractiveness. A “4” or “6” back home is like a “9” in Kabul. They call it the Kabubble. For the record, Kim is “Kabul cute”. Side note: Does Tina Fey really think she’s just a 4?

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is the chronicle of a plucky reporter who shakes up her life by taking a job covering the war in Afghanistan. The production comes from the directing team of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa who were responsible for the enjoyable romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love. Robert Carlock wrote the screenplay. He was a Saturday Night Live writer from 1996 to 2001 and a show runner for the TV comedy 30 Rock. Given the background of the people involved, I hoped for an incisive and witty take on war with acerbic overtones. Yet WTF is largely forgettable, an incidental tale of a journalist’s experiences. It’s random and unexpectedly bland. Details include actor Alfred Molina who plays a lascivious Afghan prime minister that’s regularly putting the moves on her. There’s even a contrived romance featuring Martin Freeman that is as fabricated as any stock boy-meets-girl love affair you’ve ever seen. The sitcom observations are just too shallow to make this the insightful feature that it could have been. WTF indeed.

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8 Responses to “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”

  1. smilingldsgirl Says:

    Tina Fey has always been that person that everyone else seems to love but I don’t quite get the appeal. Even 30 Rock I just never got into. That said, I do find it strange that someone who is so popular can not seem to get a decent movie off the ground. Aside from Mean Girls and voice over work she’s made a lot of bad movies. I think her only fresh RT movies are Muppets Most Wanted, Ponyo, Mean Girls and Megamind. I wonder why she isn’t getting more parts? I will definitely skip this one.

    • I guess “decent” is relative but Date Night, Baby Mama and Sisters were all hits. In the eyes of Hollywood, that’s one measure of success.

      • smilingldsgirl Says:

        Yeah she’s popular but her movies just arent very good. It’s just a strange phenomenon

      • smilingldsgirl Says:

        Date Night is one I will always have bad feelings toward because I took my little brother thinking it would be a fun comedy and it was really raunchy. Serves me right I guess for not doing research first.

  2. Ha! i was waiting for that last line to come. . .

    I thought this was a really unfocused affair. I liked it overall but it was so random, as you say. Good word for it. Also is the character Kim Baker or Kim Barker? Not sure if they intentionally changed her name but its Baker on IMDb and BaRker on Rotten Tomatoes and her real name is with the ‘r.’ Nit picky thing I know but it’s one of those things that annoys me

    • The movie character is BAKER. They intentionally changed it. The real reporter is Barker with an ‘R’. Weird. It’s such a minor change that it begs the question, “Why?”

  3. I’m the same way Mark. The better the movie, the more I’m lost in the experience. When a movie is awful, I spend my time questioning everything about it too, trying to formulate exactly why I dislike it. While Whiskey Tango Foxtrot doesn’t sound like it’s horrible, it doesn’t sound memorable either based on your description. I was hoping for something wittier as well. Happy that I didn’t take time out of my 2016 to watch it.

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