Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (2016) Movie Review: Tina Fey Knows WTF She’s Doing In This Dusty Dramedy

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: so much animal sex. Sling back a sip anytime something furry gets it on.

Take a Shot: for the shitty air quality. Literally.

Take a Sip: whenever Fey is a fish-out-of-water and/or does something insanely stupid. Take Two: for both.

Take a Drink: anytime Fey swears or something blows up.

Shotgun a Beer: for “I almost fucked a Canadian?!” (It’s okay, Canada, someone will bone you.)

Community Review

How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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Movie Review

By: Felix Felicis (Two Beers) –

Dear Tina Fey, remember my 2013 love letter to you during my lukewarm reception of your mind-numbingly dull Rom/Com/Dramedy, Admission?

http://movieboozer.com/movie/admission-2013-2

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT WAS EVERYTHING THAT LABORIOUSLY DULL BRAIN TURD WASN’T. I don’t blame you, I’ve also made terrible decisions that took three years and repeated acts of blackmail to fix (please see any school photo of me with bangs for reference). But congrats on getting it right this time! I’ve never been prouder and still breathlessly await your best friendship. No rush.

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A dramatic reenactment of the dark time in my life that was the 90’s.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is based upon the memoir (The Taliban Shuffle) of real-life war correspondent Kim Barker. WTF follows Tina Fey as Barker (a sad-sack desk jockey who uproots her life to chase the fumes of a forgotten war) throughout a lengthy not-quite-midlife crisis. From the safety of a modern world through the streets of a conflicted one, Fey as Kim Barker struggles to find her new normal in a way that’ll leave her with a pulse and a few scraps of battered integrity.

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The DMV continues to deny this catchphrase as my license plate.

A Toast

The trailer for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot didn’t even begin to do it justice, not to mention how delightfully surprised (and honestly impacted) I was by the real-life-drama-driven flick. Unrelated: fist bumps all around to the geniuses who altered the title from the memoir’s Taliban Shuffle to the wry, tongue-in-cheek WTF. Tina Fey has long been a comedic powerhouse, but here she flexes her dramatic chops in a way that embraces every facet of the character and helps each moment to reach its fullest potential. What could have easily become a dull, depressing, meandering narrative through a footnote in history was instead turned into an unflinching, intrepid retrospective on the realities of war filled with flecks of humor and heart.

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Add double-fisting cheeseburgers and this is spot-on how I watched WTF.

The ensemble cast surrounding Fey were nothing short of an all-star round-up. Margot Robbie as war correspondent Tanya Vanderpoel is a beautifully selfish and subtle wonder to behold. Only in her mid-twenties and already capable of delivering enthralling performance after enthralling performance (please see Wolf of Wall Street for reference) Robbie is an actor you’ll see in it for the long haul. Martin Freeman as freelance photojournalist Iain MacKelpie is a charming, slightly flawed badass alongside Billy Bob Thorton’s reserved-yet-fair hardass, General Hollanek. The rest of the ancillary cast deliver their characters with depth, humor, and realism as is demanded of them and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot shines as an example of how to deliver a well-rounded drama.

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Top that popcorn with a light dusting of Xanax and you’re good to go on WTF.

Beer Two

Overall, WTF was a stellar film, studded with poignancy and a few laughs along the way. There were, however, some slight detracting factors to pull focus from the flick (not unlike a great blind date who tells you they’re a recovering One Direction fan/kale enthusiast). The pacing in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot takes a while to build up steam, lingering in the meandering windup phase a little too long before changing gear and getting to the good stuff. The editing itself was a choppy distraction that dropped you in the middle of the narrative and then time-jumped you years back to work leapfrog-style back to the midpoint… And then beyond. To that I say, what in the actual fuck? The strength of the cast and compelling story arc of their characters manages to pull you back in, but it’s noticeable (though not insurmountable) how much the pacing and editing draw you out.

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#Kale #NotEvenOnce

Verdict

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a rough gem of compressed drama with flecks of perfectly poised humor throughout. Tina Fey was on fleek, y’all.

2beers

About Felix Felicis

Filled with smart-assed sass and armed with the expletives to prove it, Felix Felicis is a critic adrift in a sea of dirty thoughts and tawdry humor. If you see her float by, toss Felix some beef jerky and a taser. She'll take it from there.

One comment

  1. There is no recovering from kale or 1D. Only concrete shoes. I’ll be sure to check out WTF not expecting the typical Tina Fey movie and indulge in a more dramatic role.

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