Opportunity Missed – Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016)

Needed a point.  So based on true events, this is about American journalist Kim Baker (Tina Fey) covering the war in Afghanistan.  It shows her life, everything that is different for women in this country, and all of the general craziness she has to deal with on a day to day basis.  Tina Fey is arguably the funniest female comedian in Hollywood.  She knows her audience and how to market herself, and she is just as good in front of the screen as she is at writing scripts and screenplays.  Even her lesser material, like Date Night or Baby Mama still typically end up being worthwhile for the most part, and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot isn’t without its moments, it just feels like it was intended to be sharp and pointed, and it unfortunately just isn’t.

1There’s so much that could’ve been said about the treatment of women in the Middle East and U.S. involvement in this war… but it just never gets there.

I don’t know the story of the real Kim Baker, and maybe it is just a matter of not all that many interesting things happened to her while she was overseas, but this is just a very simple story of a woman trying to get by in a boy’s club.  She has something to prove, sure, but I don’t know if she ever ultimately proves it.  For a movie that is the acronym WTF, you would think that there would be more noteworthy things that happened, but there’s not a whole lot featured here that hasn’t been told before.  The jokes don’t hit all that well, and the most frustrating thing about it is that I couldn’t see the message that it is trying to say, and I think that this is more because it doesn’t have anything to say at all, which is why this is ends up being so disappointing.

2And it’s not like this is a topic that has failed to be the subject matter of hundreds of the thousands of debates.

It’s not all bad, and I got light chuckles throughout.  I like Billy Bob Thornton most of all as a high point, even if all he is doing is playing Billy Bob Thornton.  With the amount of culture clash depicted here, this really could have benefited from a large dose of an attempting to understand another culture, but this never does that, and it ends up being more forgettable than anything.  I thought with Fey’s name on this that I was in for some smart, biting commentary, but I was mistaken, and the movie that we got is one that is struggling to find its voice.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016) **1/2

– Critic for Hire


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