Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s (I Love You Philip Morris, Crazy Stupid Love) latest collaboration serves up intermittent morsels of truth and entertainment, though that’s more a testament to their talented cast than the virtues of 30 Rock writer Robert Carlock’s flat, bloated script.
TV journalist Kim Baker (Tina Fey) is unhappy with her station in life and craves something more, so she takes an assignment in Afghanistan covering Operation Enduring Freedom. This creates a rift with her boyfriend Chris (Josh Charles), but opens Kim’s eyes to what she really wants out of her life, both personally and professionally.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a movie filled with likable, talented people who are nevertheless left to mostly tread water in a middle-of-the-road fish-out-of-water dramedy that never quite satisfies as either a drama or comedy. Fey is, as usual, an appealingly prickly lead and demonstrates solid chemistry with Martin Freeman (her love interest), Billy Bob Thornton (her superior) and Margot Robbie (her rival) in particular, yet the written word betrays her and her colleagues as it paints in extremely broad strokes.
There are amusing scenarios and dramatic beats that absolutely work, but it’s all stirred in with overly broad gags and relationship cliches that an atypical setting and skilled cast can’t really remedy. It doesn’t help that the pic, clocking in at 112 minutes, feels a good 15-20 minutes too long, and simply lacks sufficient incident or epiphany to make it anything more than just watchable.
In short, it does nothing we haven’t seen done before, in better movies no less, and as such is faintly disappointing considering the talented individuals both in front of and behind the camera. Not bad by any means, but for something that could’ve had serious potential with the right angle,, awards season or otherwise, this take plays it safe to the point of oft-boredom. It’s the sort of movie you’ll watch once and probably forget you ever saw it before long, its place in Netflix playlists already carved out.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is available on VOD now