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By Megan Bianco
It’s ironic that two completely different comedies released last weekend, Paramount’s Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and Disney’s Zootopia, both had themes of social commentary. Using anamorphic characters as metaphors, it’s not a surprise the latter is an instant hit with audiences and critics. But Foxtrot is a completely different R-rated racial satire based on real events of reporter Kim Barker (or Baker in the movie) and not doing nearly as well.
From 2003 to 2006, Baker (Tina Fey) goes from office news scripter to international correspondent in Afghanistan to cover the military’s involvement on the Middle East battlefield. Leaving behind her boyfriend, Chris (Josh Charles), and life as she knows it, Kim is in for a big surprise with the huge differences between Afghanistan and New York she will have to experience for the next three years.
WTF is directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, of Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011). Even with Fey’s old mentor Lorne Michaels as a producer on WTF, there is almost nothing legitimately funny to be found in the film. WTF tries to show Kim as endearingly out of her league by being ignorant about everything from Afghani culture to the U.S. military, but instead comes off as insufferable. The cherry on top is Christopher Abbott and Alfred Molina, two white actors, whose portrayal of the main Afghan characters is cringe-worthily distracting. WTF was never going to be a masterpiece or classic, but when a kids’ movie with furry cartoon animals has better execution at a racially conscious plot, there’s a problem.