Cary, NC — Whiskey Tango Foxtrot tells the true story of Kim Baker, a journalist covering the war in Afghanistan who uses her wit to find unique perspectives on the crisis. Tina Fey stars as Baker, and it’s a perfect role for her.
Her brilliant comedic timing is on full force here, but she’s also able to show off her more vulnerable and dramatic side, which goes a long way, especially when the film can’t quite live up to the talent of its star.
Delicate Balance Between Drama & Comedy
Not quite a serious wartime drama or a full-on comedy, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot uses humor to balance with the often unsettling images and realities of war. It’s an interesting balance that the movie hits more than misses. There are some moments where the comedy goes a little too broad for the tone, but the talented cast helps pick up the slack.
There are quick appearances from Billy Bob Thornton and Alfred Molina, both of whom manage to squeeze in a few belly laughs. Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock) pops up as a Scottish photographer with a penchant for saying the wrong thing precisely when he means to. Freeman is also primarily known for his comedic work, but he’s a great foil for Fey, as they both find themselves becoming addicting to the thrill of the fight.
Fey Proves Her Dramatic Chops
But Fey is the real reason this movie works as well as it does. Even when the comedy starts to overtake things, Fey manages to bring it all back down right where it should be with the smallest of looks. It really is a very layered performance, and, since she served as a producer on the film, I’m hoping she finds more chances to prove just how great an actress she can be.
Foxtrot touches a lot of issues in a fairly short amount of time, but one of its biggest problems is that it tries to cover too much ground. Everything it covers is interesting, but it doesn’t give itself enough opportunity to flesh these ideas and thoughts out.
Flawed, But Worthwhile Viewing
Luckily, it’s still a very good movie.
Fey carries the whole thing on her shoulders like a pro, and she’s backed up by a willing cast and strong, if somewhat unfocused, direction. It might be a bit messy, but Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is well worth seeing just for its leading lady alone.