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10 Mar 2016

Fantastic Fey: 'WTF' Allows the Comedy Great to Show a Bit of Her Dramatic Side

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Tina Fey in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot. Tina Fey in Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.

Tina Fey makes a seamless transition to slightly more dramatic fare with Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, the story of a female journalist dropped into the middle of the war in Afghanistan.

Based on the book The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker, the film has a M*A*S*H vibe to it when it is at its best. Fey gets plenty of chances to be funny, but this is her meatiest role yet; it allows her to show off a more serious side as an actress.

When her life in New York gets too humdrum, Kim (Fey) winds up in Afghanistan—despite having no major field-reporting experience. Before she knows it, she’s dodging RPGs and filing stories nobody cares about. She has standard long-distance relationship problems on top of that, along with an onsite romance with a freelance photographer (Martin Freeman).

Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (co-directors of Crazy, Stupid, Love and Focus), the film pops on occasion, but spends a little too much time in dusty apartments rather than out in the field.

Margot Robbie is great, if a little underused, as another field reporter, while the likes of Billy Bob Thornton and Alfred Molina perform admirably in supporting roles. The film doesn’t always click, but it remains watchable thanks to Fey and, to a lesser extent, Robbie. It stands as an interesting turning point in Fey’s career.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is playing at theaters across the valley.

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