Tag Archives: Tina Fey

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot – Movie Review

Based on the book by Kim Barker, The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Tina Fey plays the role of war correspondent Kim Baker. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is less about Barker’s actual story of a network correspondent in a hostile environment but a case study in the addiction correspondents have to risk their lives for the story.

Release Date: March 4, 2016
Writer: Robert Carlock
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Cast: Tina Fey, Martin Freeman, Margot Robbie, Billy Bob Thornton

One thing you should know before going watching Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is that this is not a comedy. Sure there are comedic moments, but the family is a serious look at a woman, who knows she’s on the tail end of her television journalism career, unless she can make something happen. That something is going to Afghanistan and covering the involvement of the United States government. The challenge is to bring back stories that can complete with the war in Iraq.

At best, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is an interesting film. Tiny Fey plays Kim Baker as a strong woman, who is a fish out of water in a foreign land. Baker is accompanied by her cameraman Brian (Nicholas Braun) and her interpreter Fahim Ahmadzi (Christopher Abbott).

Her first assignment is as an embedded reporter with General Hollanek (Billy Bob Thornton) and a squad of soldiers on maneuvers. As luck would have it, they are ambushed and Kim puts her life endanger by putting herself in harm’s way and filming the attack on a hostile truck.

Adrenaline still rushing, we are introduced to the one spot where all the war correspondents unwind and it’s the local bar. Think on-campus college pub but instead of uninhibited college students, you have uninhibited middle-aged adults. It is here that Kim meets British-reporter Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie) and learns that in the middle of nowhere every woman is hot. In the U.S. Baker may be a 6, but in the Middle East, she’s a ten.

Baker also meets another British Reporter, Iain MacKelpie (Martin Freeman). To Baker, MacKelpie comes off as more arrogant that street smart and this flirtatious rivalry soon turns into full blown sex without consequences.

The movie continues to follow Baker as she places herself in one dangerous situation after the other and then releasing the pent up aggression with MacKelpie. This danger includes becoming involved with a local official, Ali Massoud Sadiq (Alfred Molina) and escalates to inserting herself into a street demonstration resulting in near disaster. As the highs increase, the interest in her stories decreases to the point that her network is not broadcasting her stories.

Adventures aside, the bright spot of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot are the relationships that Baker builds with the locals and especially her interpreter, Fahim. There comes a point where Bakers hunt for danger forces Fahim to choose between friendship and his own personal safety.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is an interesting look at what is happening in the Middle East. We get a glimpse into what real people think of Americans and their presence in their country. We also see that this is a new kind of war. Unlike World War II or Vietnam, we don’t know who the enemy is exactly as they co-mingle with the innocent.

If anything, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is Tina Fey exercising her acting skills. She plays a woman who inadvertently finds the exhilaration of danger and soon comes face-to-face with the reality of that danger not only in her life, but in the lives of her friends.

Sisters – Movie Review

The idea is simple, two adult sisters who have yet to grow up through their last party in their childhood home. Now, let’s add SNL’s Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler and you have yourself an above average movie.

Release Date: December 18, 2015
Writer: Paula Pell
Director: Jason Moore
Cast: Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Ike Barinholtz, Maya Rudolph

The trend is to gather a series of over-the-top moments and connect it together with a personal storyline. Often it is the wild moments, that are written first and then the touching storyline comes second. Sisters feel this way, but fortunately, a lot of thought has been given to the personal story by screenwriter Paula Pell.

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler play Kate and Maura Ellis. Kate and Maura are sisters now in their upper thirties and whose lives are not what they hoped it would be today. Kate is a single mother who works as a cosmetologist out of her friend’s home. Unable to hold a job, mostly because of her temper, her daughter wants nothing to do with Kate. Maura, on the other hand, the supposedly the more sensible daughter, but after her divorce, she is afraid to venture into the world on her own and is happy solving the problems of her family.

Soon, Maura receives a call from her parents (James Brolin and Diane Weist) that they are going to sell their childhood home in Orlando and move to a seniors village nearby. They ask Kate and Maura to clean out their bedrooms. Upset about the move, Kate convinces Maura to throw a final Ellis Sisters party for their old high school friends.

What follows is the reason this movie was made: what if middle-aged sisters threw a high school party as adults. This movie is constructed around a series of gags. The main premise follows adults carrying the emotional high school baggage. This involves a rivalry with Brinda (Maya Rudolph), the nerdy jokester, Alex (Bobby Moynihan), who still has to prove he’s funny and of course extensive use of drugs, alcohol and an innocent house that has to withstand the shenanigans of a late night rager.

Sisters can only be judged on two levels, how good is the story of sisters and how funny are the party gags. Add them together and you get a funny movie, but without any real stand-out laugh-out moments.

Starting with the story, Kate and Maura are semi-estranged sisters. Kate feels like a failure and avoids the judgment of her parents. Maura is the insecure sister that needs to fix constantly her family causing her parents to want to avoid her. It is this party that ultimately changes the sisters for the better. Kate is desperate to find a solid home to show her daughter that she is a solid mother.

Tiny Fey is likable as the out-of-control sister. For some reason, it was fun to listen to Tina Fey swear and tell dirty jokes. Amy Poehler has the nerdy little sister down pat as she plays a girl uncomfortable with intimacy. Her moments flirting with James (Ike Barinholtz) are touching and funny.

The party humor of sisters pitted two gangs against each other: high school party jokes and adults acting as high schooler jokes. There were a lot of good jokes but nothing that stood out as jokes you talk about at the water cooler. The only negative is the old bad drugs joke. Bobby Moynihan’s character, Alex, takes some bad drugs and acts over-the-top wacky. Most people would usually OD, but that’s not funny.

Sisters is a good, solid comedy, but not a great movie. Great performances by Poehler and Fey but no stand out funny moments that will have people talking at the end. You’ll most likely watch it when it shows up on cable, and you are looking for a good laugh. Sisters is bound to find its rightful place amongst countless other comedies.