Tina Fey has proven herself capable of elevating some fairly mediocre material. The sight of white actors donning beards and Afghan pakols to depict “foreign” characters is wincingly off-putting, as is the tendency of “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” to present Afghanistan as a dusty, chaotic backdrop for its heroine’s personal catharsis. Working from a screenplay by Robert Carlock (“30 Rock”), co-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (“Crazy, Stupid, Love“) deliver a film that couldn’t be less interested in the complexities of the situation it’s allegedly depicting.
During a New York Times panel series on Wednesday night, Tina Fey, who is starring in the upcoming film Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, confirmed that her hit 2004 high school comedy will be adapted into a musical. “She’s super intelligent, which didn’t come as any surprise, but I was impressed by how she can par-tay!” said the actress with a huge laugh.
Part of the plot line unfolds in the frat house style journalist dorms where Fey interacts with co-star Margot Robbie, who plays a fellow reporter. Kim is a real risk taker. I was surprised the Albert Brooks movie Looking For Comedy in the Muslim World was so poorly received 10 years ago.
Kim also encounters an array of unusual characters involved in the US invasion of Afghanistan. That’s exactly what happens to cable news producer Kim Baker (Tina Fey) when she realizes her routine existence is lacking in something – and decides to “blow it all up” by taking a insane, WTF assignment in Afghanistan. “who’s going to get in trouble for this is me”.
“Billy Bob Thornton plays a Marine colonel in the film”. And Martin Freeman, war photographer. “I’ve always loved that”.
Throughout the talk, Fey had quite a few other choice quotes that would similarly satisfy obsessives of her past work. Tina brings her impeccable comic timing and sarcasm to the nonstop insanity that is the “Kabubble”, sure, but she also performs with honest emotion in such a way that I felt it was her most worthwhile dramatic role in a movie. It’s the typical fish-out-of-water story we’ve seen so many times, and it adds nothing new or that interesting. Partying at brothels and karaoke bars when she’s not dodging bullets and interviewing Afghan warlords, Kim overcomes culture shock and finds comfort in the chaos – making it hard to eventually leave her adrenaline-fueled lifestyle behind.
“There actually are so many great war comedies”, says Fey.