Much like the military acronym within the film’s title, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a film that will leave you feeling puzzled and confused, but at least you’ll be able to laugh about it.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Tina Fey plays Kim Baker, a dissatisfied television journalist who’s seeking a dramatic change of lifestyle. An opening as a foreign correspondent in Afghanistan presents itself, and she is swept into a new world that soon makes her question her desires to leave in the first place. We follow her travels over the years post 9/11 as Kim finds fresh meaning in herself, and pushes her journalistic instincts to the limit. Directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (Focus, Crazy Stupid Love) team up once more, and it seems that they’re slowly making better progress.
Although childish, a lot of humour manages to creep its way into this film and catch you off guard. Given the film’s main setting, however, comedy does seem a bit out of place. This where Whiskey Tango Foxtrot falls down; it isn’t exactly sure what type of film it wants to be. While it has hints of seriousness akin to the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, it also borrows comedy style from Crazy, Stupid Love. On their own, each of these can be effective, but in Fey’s latest film, the two sides never find a balance.
Rather than being clearly defined with a specific theme or idea, the film presents several that linger throughout, but are never fully explored. Instead, we’re degraded to mere observers of these characters as they move from one scenario to the next, without becoming emotionally involved. We see Kim deal with trying to find herself by thrusting head first into dangerous situations, but we never feel her trials and tribulations, and this is what the film lacks.
It may be backed by a fine grade of actors (Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton), but sadly Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is not going to be remembered as a comedy classic. If Requa and Ficarra can focus on blending drama and humour with more finesse, then we may see an improvement from the duo in the future. Till then, enjoy some mindless humour, and see if you can take anything away from it.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is available in Australian cinemas from May 12
Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures