after we left the cinema my friend asked me "would you rather see that movie again or wait in line at ben and jerry's for two hours?" and honestly i'd rather wait at ben and jerry's because by the end i would have gained something.
Ficarra and Requa deliver a pleasant surprise that was mis-marketed as a comedy on release last spring. Instead we find a well scripted adaptation of the memoir by KIm Barker looking at a woman journalist's experiences in Afghanistan when the world's focus had turned to Iraq. Some light comedy here and there but Tina Fey does some heavier lifting dramatically this time around. Worth discovering.
Couldn't help but sit in the theater and realize this is the kind of film I was requesting when writing less-than-positive reviews of both "Hail, Caesar!" and "Our Brand is Crisis." I wanted more consistent humor, affable character relationships, and memorable performances to make up for the lack of focus. Here, Tina Fey and Margot Robbie are a comedic dream-team with some seriously strong dramatic convictions.
It's clear that this film is trying to be a smart dramedy, but it never really accomplishes being a successful comedy nor drama The comedic moments go too much into broad and silly territory. As for a drama, the central character never feels fully developed, and the filmmakers never settle on a proper story arc for her, starting various threads without fully realizing them.
I really like and admire Tina Fey, and I laughed every now and then, but this was just kinda meh. And Billy Bob and Martin Freeman didn't have a scene together. They missed a great Fargo shout out opportunity.
For all its self deprecation it never rises far above the self-satisfied memoir of the journalist who has finally done something with their life. There's an uneasy Orientalising slant to it and at times in the last half hour it veers into some very crass territory indeed. Americans without passports might find it illuminating.