Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

The title is “WTF” in the NATO alphabet.  Which makes sense.
Movie Review #1,057


Distributed by Paramount Pictures. Comedy, War. Running time: 1 hour, 52 minutes. Rated R for pervasive language, some sexual content, drug use and violent war images. Released March 4, 2016. Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. Screenplay by Robert Carlock. Based on the book “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan” by Kim Barker. Starring Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina, Christopher Abbott, and Billy Bob Thornton.

Where the art of film meets the art of deception lies the craft of film editing. You can quite literally turn anything into its polar opposite this way in a matter of a few clicks. Coke becomes Pepsi. A Hillary Clinton campaign ad becomes a documentary on the charitable deeds of Mother Theresa. A dry, bleak romantic drama becomes the trailer for a wonderfully upbeat, hysterically funny comedy.

That last one has a name: “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”, which is “WTF” in the NATO alphabet. The title has absolutely nothing to do with the film itself, other than that it describes the reaction you’ll have watching it. It’s almost adorable that directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra think this film is a comedy. It’s a shame it was marketed as such. “WTF” is a comedy in the same way “Billy Madison” is a drama. That movie had some sentimental moments, particularly in developing the relationship between the titular character and his love interest, but overall it’s just a silly Adam Sandler comedy. Likewise, “WTF” just isn’t that much of a comedy.

This is an interesting story that has been bled dry as a bone. An unmarried journalist is sent to Afghanistan to document her experiences during the War on Terror. It’s a very unique story starting off, but then said journalist’s boyfriend cheats on her, and the story whips around into a traditional romance movie. It becomes a story about a shallow woman who is trying to decide whether or not she has romantic feelings for some British guy she is staying with in Afghanistan (the horribly miscast Martin Freeman). Is Hollywood truly advancing as fast as society? Because by now it’s pretty much common knowledge that a woman is allowed to be single. She doesn’t need to be by a man’s side her entire life, particularly I’d she’s Tina Fey and he’s some ugly, creepy British guy from “The Hobbit”. If you can picture what a ’90s Julia Roberts movie would look like with Tina Fey and without very much humor, you can probably skip “WTF” because you already know what’s going to happen.


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