‘Whiskey Tango Foxtrot’ is a True ‘WTF’

By Julia Siegel, Contributing Writer

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Whenever Tina Fey and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels team up to produce a film, the comedy expectations are set high. Their new film, “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot” (“WTF”), turned out not to be a comedy or a drama or a dramedy. Instead, “WTF” was stuck in genre limbo, as it could not figure out what type of film it should be. The film is as average as can be. It was not good or bad. It was just extremely average.

Fey produced and starred in “WTF” as a copy writer turned war journalist Kim Baker, based on real-life journalist Kim Barker, who recorded her experiences of reporting in Afghanistan and Pakistan in her memoir “The Taliban Shuffle.”

The film has a very choppy story that does not go in one direction. It bounces back and forth with no real plot. “WTF” pretty much follows some of the adventures Barker had while being a war reporter in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2006.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot debuted on March 4. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot debuted on March 4.
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

A lot of credit should be given to Fey for giving a good performance with a poorly-written script. Fey was able to add her particular quirky humor to the character to help lighten the otherwise very serious story. She showed range in her performance through well-done drama scenes. Fey rarely disappoints, and she is as good as ever in “WTF.” If the story was there with her, this film would have been great.

Instead, “WTF” will make you think the popular acronym that we all think of when we see the letters WTF. The story changes every five-to-10 minutes, has no direction, and some of the characters seem like fillers when nothing is really happening. Over the 110 minutes that the film runs, nothing is accomplished, and it never finds its footing. However, it is not boring as Fey gets into a crazy situation every now and then, leaving you thinking, “WTF?” To me, the title aptly suits the film and pretty much sums it up.

Tina Fey stars in "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot." Photo courtesy of Mingle Media TV (Wikimedia Commons)
Tina Fey stars in “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.”
Photo courtesy of Mingle Media TV (Wikimedia Commons)

The only decent part of the film, besides Fey’s acting, was the detail in which war journalism was depicted. The film takes a lot of time to highlight the dangers of international war reporting and the constant threats these journalists face.

At its core, “WTF” is simply a journalism film that is masked by a semi-love story. The struggles of getting stories, air time and staying alive in hostile situations are showcased well, giving the audience an inside look at what the real deal is probably like. The writers more than likely wanted to keep the story as realistic as possible when it came to journalism.

This film is no Spotlight or All the President’s Men, but still shows journalism in a favorable light.

“WTF” wound up being more serious than expected. It is not every day that Fey stars in dramas, but she did do a fine job. It is a shame that the story was not on the same level as Fey.

Overall, “WTF” is simply average. It is not a waste of time to see, but there are definitely much better films out right now that are more worthy of being seen fi

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