Tina Fey’s first shot into dramatic film making

Uninteresting? Yes. Unsatisfying? Yes. This movie was like reading one of those books where you’ve read over half of it, waiting for it to get started, so you don’t want to put it down because you have time invested in it – but then you get to the end and realize you pretty much SHOULD have put it down at about page 15.

There was no hook in the first few minutes. That should have been my first warning. But I stayed because I wanted to like it – I really did. I had hoped this would have been a good vehicle for Tina Fey to show her dramatic chops. We know she can rock it totally when it comes to comedy. There were moments when we could see that Tina Fey could indeed crack off a good dramatic moment, but apparently, this wasn’t going to be the movie to do it in.

Some have taken this movie to be a comedy. Negatory on that one, even with the producing team of Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey.

I am not a big fan of f-bombs and similar language… but that didn’t bother me in this one – it’s a military situation in Afghanistan – that’s going to be how the people talk, so no big deal for me at all when it comes to that.

There were a few story lines – three of them, really, and each of them took about five minutes to tell. That left 136 minutes of the rest of the movie to sit through . . . which, for the reason mentioned in the first paragraph, we DID sit through. Each of these stories could have been a movie in themselves with the right kind of writing and focus, but no, that didn’t happen.

Why the dissatisfaction? It might have been the writing – like I said, the three story lines took fifteen minutes. How does a screen writer fill up the rest of the time? I guess the answer is that you write a bunch of little vignettes. As a cinematographer, you shoot scenes of dark rooms while the characters are partying in the Afghanistan desert, or you shoot bouncing, shaking shots of vehicles racing down the dirt roads, or . . . well, that’s what it was.

So, I can’t give this one any kind of thumb up; more like a hand wave that says, “Eh…. “.


151 minutes running time

Cast includes Tina Fey, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Alfred Molina, Billy Bob Thornton

Written by Robert Carlock (screenplay) based on the book by Kim Barker (the Tina Fey character) titled THE TALIBAN SHUFFLE:STRANGE DAYS IN AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN

Directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa
Produced by Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey