‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’ Review

Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa

Written by Robert Carlock

Starring: Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina, Billy Bob Thornton, and Cherry Jones

★★★☆☆

“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is one of the movies that sets out with grand ambitions, but ends up leaving you puzzled as to whether or not the film met the lofty goals that it envisioned for itself. “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” is a comedy/drama about journalism and the War on Terror, well, it was supposed to be that movie – to be fair it had a little of this film in it – but it wound up being more a plethora of different types of movies. The film is part midlife crisis story, part political satire, part romance, and part foreigner abroad comedy. Each of these of different genres of the movie, individually perform well. The constant switching of these tones is where the film shows the chinks in its armor.

The strongest part of the “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” mixed bag of tonality are the parts of the movie that is the least developed: political satire and the War on Terror and the media. There a several jokes that are placed throughout the movie which hints at the greater satirical intentions, and these jokes were the strongest, wittiest, and sharpest jokes in the movie. The major issue here is that these jokes are nothing more than throwaway jokes, they make the joke and immediately dismiss it. Like with the satire in the film, the elements of the movie that are about the relationship between the War on Terror and the media, particularly in Afghanistan. There are several instances of threads throughout the movie, like the well story, the firebombing of the girl’s school, and the thing with the Chinese. These stories are mentioned and thrown away. It is only brought up again in one scene between Cherry Jones and Tina Fey – the best scene in the movie – and immediately forgotten. That scene had a lot to say about the corporate interests behind major network news. Jones tells Fey something to the effect of that people love the troops, but they do not want to see them on their televisions anymore. That scene, that scene between Jones and Fey is the movie that “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” should have been.

Despite the various tonal shifts throughout the movie, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” was still an enjoyable movie to watch. Tina Fey was good, she does her best to land the comedic moments of a decent, though not a strong script. Fey is a tremendous comedic talent, even if the movie is subpar she is always a delight to watch on screen. The rest of the cast were good, no standouts, the movie had a decent script, and was capably directed. “Whisky Tango Foxtrot” is neither memorable or forgettable, its biggest issue is that it fails to reach its lofty satiric ambitions that it saw itself reaching. “Whisky Tango Foxtrot” is still a solid three-star movie, despite its flaws.

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