Tina Fey Goes to war only equipped with a camera in “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot”
Tina Fey stars as Kim Baker, a TV news producer in New York that gets a chance to go in front of the camera by taking an assignment covering the war in Afghanistan. “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” also stars Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina and Billy Bob Thornton in this film based upon the autobiography, “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan” by Kim Barker.
Baker takes on what was suppose to be a 6 month job reporting on hostility in Afghanistan that gives her an opportunity to go in front of the camera. The first few months Baker learns the ropes from the only other woman reporter Tanya Vanderpool (Robbie), where to party, who to hook up with and most of all that Kim is a 9.5 on the Afghan scale (where she is only a six back in America). Kim and Tanya are embedded with a troop of Marines led by General Hollanek (Billy Bob Thornton) and he tells Kim to stay away from his marines and not to give them any “jobs” of any kind.
The Marines go out and investigate a well they built destroyed by the terrorists and come under fire. Barker is told to stay in the hummer, but she grabs a camera and crawls into the crossfire and manages to get the fight and the explosion that killed the terrorists. Baker is warned not to become addicted to the rush of risking danger for the story, only to repeatedly do it. Bakers driver a security detail take her to see a Taliban leader and the stumble on a demonstration. Kim in a bright blue body length veil, grabs the camera and walks into the mob. It turns out to be a male only Taliban rally, so the crew barely makes it out in one piece.
Baker’s 6 month job turns into a 3 year career choice. Kim also manages to become close friend with Afghan leader Ali Massoud Sadiq (Alfred Molina), who wanted to trade information for sexual favors with Baker, only to be shot down each time. Kim did end up hooking up with a Scottish photographer, Ian MacKelpie (Martin Freeman) and plan to meet up with him in Scotland on her way back “home” aka Afghanistan after a trip back to the states to meet with her boss (Cherry Jones). Kim arrives only to learn Ian was kidnapped while reporting on a story deep in country. Fortunately Kim also has softened the hard as nail Marine General, so he was receptive to a rescue plan to get Ian back.
With Lorne Michaels producing and Fey starring, I expected more “Stripes” and ended up with Private Benjamin. Billy Bob is amazing in this film and I loved the relationship between Hollanek and Baker.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot or WTF, is entertaining and humorous…just not hysterically funny. I do recommend seeing it at the theater, only go early to a matinee and save a few bucks.