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

  • Bright like a diamond: Harvard honours Rihanna's philanthropy

    Entertainment CTV News
    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard University thinks Rihanna shines bright like a diamond when it comes to philanthropy. The Grammy Award-winning singer is being honoured Tuesday as Harvard's 2017 Humanitarian of the Year. The university says it chose Rihanna for her involvement in a number of charitable causes. Source
  • Jimmy Kimmel shares insights on best picture Oscar gaffe

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Oscars host Jimmy Kimmel shared his perspective on the show's best-picture gaffe during his Monday monologue on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" "As I'm sure you've at least heard, 'La La Land' was simultaneously somehow the biggest winner and loser last night," Kimmel said. Source
  • Matthew Rhys' prop penis was 'very hard to find'

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Matthew Rhys opted to let production team experts pick out the prosthetic penis he wore for his role in Girls. The Emmy-nominated actor guest stars as a writer accused of sexual misconduct on the show and during the latest episode, which aired on Sunday, the Welsh actor shared a graphic exchange with Lena Dunham’s character Hannah. Source
  • British songwriter accuses U2 of stealing song

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- A British songwriter and guitarist is claiming that rock band U2 and lead singer Bono stole one of his songs for their 1991 album "Achtung Baby." In a lawsuit filed Monday in Manhattan federal court, Paul Rose says U2 lifted elements of his song "Nae Slappin" for their song "The Fly" while they were looking for new inspiration. Source
  • 'The Bachelor' recap: A visit from ex Andi Dorfman

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    This week’s episode of The Bachelor was only an hour, as opposed to the usual 120 minutes of jet-setting, rose-filled, wine-soaked drama. But that didn’t stop Nick Viall from triggering tears, flying his remaining women to a new location and fitting in a surprising reunion with the brunette bachelorette who almost married the 36-year-old software salesman – Andi Dorfman. Source
  • How presenters are given the winning Oscar envelopes

    Entertainment CTV News
    Brie Larson, left, being handed the best actor envelope by accountant Brian Cullinan backstage at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017. (Matt Sayles / Invision) Source
  • Oscar gaffe makes for a whodunit: is tweet the smoking gun?

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Moments before he handed out the wrong envelope in one of the worst gaffes in Academy Award history, PwC accountant Brian Cullinan tweeted a behind-the-scenes photo of winner Emma Stone holding her statuette. Source
  • La La Land was best picture for 2 minutes 29 seconds. Here are some other Oscar numbers

    Entertainment CBC News
    Not many people griped about how long the Oscars ran overtime during Sunday's ceremony, thanks to the shocking best picture blunder that came at the show's tail end. But the ceremony did have a few numbers worth considering. Source
  • Coming soon: Hustler TV Canada

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    The competition in Canada's porn industry has just got a little stiffer. Hustler has announced it will be launching a new television network devoted to naked women and other such naughty things. Launching March 21, in conjunction with Montreal-based adult entertainment company Vanessa Media, the subscription-based Hustler TV Canada will have both a 24-hour porn channel and video-on-demand service. Source
  • Oscars draw 32.9M viewers in U.S.

    Entertainment CTV News
    Sorry ' La La Land,' but 'Moonlight' really won 'Call me': Steve Harvey to Warren Beatty after Oscars Best Picture flub Source