Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Published Mar 04, 2016In new film WTF, former 30 Rock and SNL alum Tina Fey takes on a far more serious role as real-life war correspondent Kim Barker, delivering a side of the comedian-producer-writer-actor extraordinaire rarely seen before — and it suits her well.
Based on Barker's 2011 memoir about her time reporting from the frontlines of the War on Terror, WTF starts with Barker, a middle-aged journalist stationed in New York City and stuck in a stalled career, moving away from the copy desk and seeking out a position working in Afghanistan (a move many journalists didn't have the courage, or were unwilling, to make in the early 2000s).
From there, the audience bears witness to Barker's ups and downs in the trenches, and while some parts are funny — particularly her interactions with Margot Robbie's Tanya Vanderpoel, a striking journalist who proves to be far more ruthless with her career than one would first expect, but also with Billy Bob Thornton's hilariously vulgar military general and Alfred Molina's affable Afghan official, who proves to be perverted by power — WTF is far more successful in its depictions of the many mistakes and missteps a budding journalist working a wartime beat are likely to make (including carrying an orange backpack into a battlefield, or drinking so much water they risk running into an IED while urinating by the side of a road).
Unlike the Best Picture-nabbing Spotlight, the sense of realism may not always be there, but WTF is still integral viewing for any would-be journalist or future war correspondent, but it's amusing enough to engage those unconcerned with the nitty-gritty details of such positions, too.