Review: 'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot' a satire that occasionally misses


WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT: 3 ½ STARS

Kim Baker (Tina Fey playing the real life Kim Barker) needed to turn her life upside down.

See Full Article

"I wanted out of my job," she says in the new black comedy "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot." "I wanted out of my mildly depressive boyfriend. I wanted to blow everything up." And blow everything up she did… as bombs blew up around her.

When we first meet Baker she's a New York City based cable-news journalist tiring of "writing copy for pretty people." Eager for a change, both personally and professionally, she agrees to a three-month stint as a war correspondent in Kabul, Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom.

The "Ka-bubble," the alcohol-fuelled world populated by expatriate journos and media types, soon seduces her and she becomes addicted to the rush of living and working in a war zone. Her three-month assignment stretches to four years as she begins a relationship with a charming Scottish photographer (Martin Freeman) and chases that elusive one big story.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot film review

Question is, when will she go home? Answer: When it all starts to feel normal.

"Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" breathes the same satiric air as "M*A*S*H" and "Catch 22," but never rises to the level of social commentary attained in either of those films. There are as many jokes about Baker's appearance—she is, apparently "Kabul Cute"—as there are about the war. It sidesteps any direct political stance.

Instead it's simply content to make the point that outsiders will never have a bead on how to fix the problems in this part of the world. "This war is like [making love to] a gorilla," says US Marine Corps Col. Hollanek (Billy Bob Thornton). "You keep on going until the gorilla wants to stop." It's not a revolutionary idea but it is brought to vivid life as seen through Barker's eyes.

The film is being billed as a comedy but it's not always laugh-out-loud-funny. The jokes are styled to add to the atmosphere—Kabul international Airport, for instance, is referred to as K.I.A., which is also an acronym for "Killed In Action."—which sits squarely in Tina Fey's wheelhouse. She plays Baker as a mostly bemused—and frequently hung over—presence, able to keep the funny bits believable while bringing enough emotional heft to sell the serious parts.

"Whiskey Foxtrot Tango" is kind of like "Animal House" with warlords, or maybe, "Fear and Loathing in Afghanistan." When it is firing on all cylinders, it hits its satirical mark—"Hearts and minds," says one soldier, "the two best places to shoot somebody."—but spends most of its running time elsewhere on Barker's personal journey.

Margot Robbie in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • William, Harry got lines as stormtroopers: 'Star Wars' star John Boyega

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    John Boyega confirmed that Prince William and Prince Harry were given lines for their cameo roles as stormtroopers. The British actor, who plays Finn in the Star Wars franchise, confessed that he could no longer keep the secret that the royals filmed cameo roles for Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Source
  • Matt LeBlanc turned down 'Modern Family'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Matt LeBlanc turned down the chance to play over-emotional dad Phil Dunphy in Modern Family. The former Friends star, who has found TV success again with Episodes and Man With a Plan, admits he was offered the Dunphy role but didn’t think he was a good fit. Source
  • Jerry Lewis: 'I don't walk through life tiptoeing' [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Jerry Lewis died on Sunday Aug. 20, 2017, of natural causes at the age of 91. Here is an interview former Postmedia Network entertainment critic Jim Slotek did with the star in 1997 during a touring production of Damn Yankees. Source
  • Jerry Lewis, comedian and telethon host, dies at 91 [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. Source
  • ‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ outdoes ‘Logan Lucky’ at box office

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Critics loved Logan Lucky and gave a big collective shrug to The Hitman’s Bodyguard, but when it came to the test of the marketplace, audiences went their own way. The two action flicks faced off this weekend, and The Hitman’s Bodyguard emerged the victor with a chart-topping US$21.6 million, according to studio estimates Sunday, while Logan Lucky sputtered on arrival with $8.1 million. Source
  • Jerry Lewis: 'I don't walk through life tiptoeing'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Jerry Lewis died on Sunday Aug. 20, 2017, of natural causes at the age of 91. Here is an interview former Postmedia Network entertainment critic Jim Slotek did with the star in 1997 during a touring production of Damn Yankees. Source
  • Jerry Lewis' MDA telethons were full of emotion, star appearances

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Jerry Lewis, whose career as producer-director-writer and movie star peaked in the 1960s, may be best remembered by younger generations for the muscular dystrophy telethons he conducted every Labour Day weekend. While he had done earlier fundraising specials, Lewis appeared in his first Labor Day telethon, broadcast on a single New York station, in 1966. Source
  • Jerry Lewis, comedian and telethon host, dies at 91

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    LOS ANGELES — Jerry Lewis, the manic, rubber-faced showman who jumped and hollered to fame in a lucrative partnership with Dean Martin, settled down to become a self-conscious screen auteur and found an even greater following as the tireless, teary host of the annual muscular dystrophy telethons, has died. Source
  • How Elvis Presley came off the rails

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Before he became a pop punchline, he was a King. His empire — the entirety of the rock ‘n’ roll nation. But America eats it heroes and on Aug. 16, 1977, Elvis Presley, 42, became the latest addition to that tragic roster. Source
  • Comedy legend Jerry Lewis dead at 91

    Entertainment CBC News
    Jerry Lewis, the rubber-faced comedian and director whose fundraising telethons became as famous as his hit movies, has died. He was 91. Publicist Candi Cazau says Lewis passed away of natural causes on Sunday morning. He was in Las Vegas with his family by his side. Source