the movie begins during a rowdy dance party in Afghanistan in 2006.
As bombs explode outside, the party-goers reveal themselves to be
hard-working journalists who rush to report on what they're
experiencing, war-wise. Chief among them is Kim Baker (Tina Fey), and she becomes the center
of the story as it rewinds to New York City in 2003. Kim is toiling
behind the scenes at a cable news network when she and other single,
childless employees are implored to volunteer for war duty in the Middle
East. With the barest of suggestions that her career is stuck in
neutral and only a glancing thought to her romantic relationship, Kim
ships out for a three-month assignment.
The film is so loosely-structured and ramshackle throughout its first
hour or so that it feels like a sketch comedy show shot on location.
That's not terribly surprising, since Robert Carlock wrote the
screenplay and is a longtime collaborator with Tina Fey, dating back to their days together on Saturday Night Live and continuing onto the smart sitcom 30 Rock and other ventures.
Clearly, Carlock knows how to tailor material to fit Fey's strengths as a comic actress and, though the first half of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
is only fitfully compelling, it's filled with funny moments. The movie
also benefits greatly from the wonderful novelty of tagging along as a
woman takes the piss out of macho military men and throws a wrench into
the expectations of jaded male journalists.
The film is difficult to categorize yet enjoyable to experience and distinctive
in its approach to wartime humor.