I have a strange relationship with Tina Fey. I think she’s one of the best comic writers working today, with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt being one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, but I’ve never been a huge fan of her as an actress. I’m convinced that she’s extremely talented in both comedy and drama, I just haven’t really enjoyed many of the films of shows I’ve seen her in. Still, the thought of her taking a more dramatic turn whilst still keeping one foot in her comfort zone was an appealing prospect.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is the story of Kim Baker (who it turns out is a real person – a fact the film doesn’t make very clear), a woman who works for a news network, who one day is asked to be a correspondent in Afghanistan. After accepting the offer, it begins to take over her life, and the three months she initially meant to spend there starts to turn into years.
This film starts out strong. As many comedy / drama films do, it leads with more comedic aspects, and it’s pretty funny. The fish out of water element of the story naturally lends itself to this, but after the first twenty minutes it really loses that momentum. When the film becomes more serious, things become a bit of a slog, and it suffers from the classic real-life-story issue of showing far too much that isn’t interesting. The addition of Martin Freeman as a foul-mouthed Scottish photographer does help, but there’s around an hour in the middle of this film that doesn’t quite work.
The film does pick up at the end, when the comedy returns and the life lessons are learnt, but this film never quite manages to get to the level it was clearly aiming for. One thing this did confirm for me though was that I want to see Tina Fey go down this route, and move away from acting in comedy, and keep trying projects like this.
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