Movies: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

I didn't really have any expectations for this movie, and that was probably a good thing. As it stands, I didn't much enjoy it. If I'd had any hopes for it, I only would have been more disappointed.

My understanding is that it's an adaptation of a memoir. In that sense, WTF does play out a bit like Eat, Pray, Love. But with Tina Fey being known for her comedy, it seems they tried to do a little of that too. The result is a movie that doesn't do enough in either direction. It doesn't entirely embrace its own drama, and it's not very funny either. Worse still, it's ploddingly predictable.

Fey plays journalist Kim Barker who ditches her NY job for a more exciting post in Afghanistan in the early aughts. The film begins as a fish out of water story, during which there are attempts to capitalize on the awkward humor Fey is so good at. But it's tepid at best. And then there are halfhearted tries at romantic tension as Barker remains faithful to her boyfriend back in NY, the all too easily foreseen betrayal by said boyfriend, and the relationship Barker then develops with a fellow reporter. Yawn. Zero chemistry on all fronts only serves to weigh the film down as it labors to bring the drama forward while the earlier feints at comedy disappear. If you're going to make a relationship the center of the movie—and they serve that up rather late in this bland meal—then at least make it interesting. Even a kidnapping fails to spice this one up. (Yes, it really happens.)

Because WTF is so predictable, I barely had to pay attention, instead finding the games on my phone way more entertaining. As a rule I really like Tina Fey, and I don't want to pigeonhole her into only funny roles. I think she should have opportunities to stretch. And I don't think she was the particular problem here (though I do wonder if people who went to see this film in the cinema were disappointed it wasn't more of a comedy). I think a pedantic script that attempted to be two things at once and ended up middling is the real culprit.

No comments: