Release date: March 4th, 2016
I liked this movie. It was funny, kinda relatable and realistic in a how-I-respond-to-trajedies kind of way…with inappropriate laughter.
I will say that the genre doesn’t come across quite clear, which hinders the story a little. It tries to be a comedy, but the subject matter is pretty heavy. I mean, I get trying to come at intense moments with humor (because that’s how I live life), but it just wasn’t consistent. Sometimes there would be a problem and the answer would be laughable (i.e. women in the village just wanting to gossip) and then other time there were real stakes.
Then sometimes it tries to be a war movie, except the main character isn’t in the military or even the hero for that matter; she’s really just an observer when it comes to actually saving anyone. The trailer and even the beginning of the movie make it seem like this is going to be a lighter movie, but half-way through it becomes dramatic and all the sudden the audience is supposed to be more invested in the story and characters more than they actually are.
But I love Tina Fey and she does a good job in this movie.
She is both funny and relatable in this movie about Kim Baker, a writer/reporter in New York City turned foreign correspondent based in Kabul, Afghanistan. She brings a sense of realness to this role, as she does to most roles. Fey does the whole, “not quite self-deprecating yet brutally honest” thing very well. I appreciate her as a human, she seems totally down to earth…at least I hope she is.
And this is a “comedramilitary” movie that, even though it doesn’t know what genre it is, has a deeper message. It’s about living life with a sense of adventure, but don’t be stupid about it.
Kim Baker relays this beautiful anecdote towards the middle of the film about why she decided to leave her safe and boring cubicle to live in Kabul. *SPOILER ALERT* She says she rides the exercise bike everyday after work, which she has biked over 1,000 miles on and then one day she looks down and realizes that the bike itself has moved backwards, which is how she feels her life as been. Going through the motions and not actually getting anywhere. In fact, going backwards! How depressing! So she decided to move to the exact opposite of her cubicle, Afghanistan.
This lesson that she learned before leaving the US eventually comes full circle…but let me talk about the other characters too.
There are three main reporters this story follows, all at different stages in their careers. Tonya, Iain, and Kim. They all go to Afghanistan looking for a rush of danger in their lives, but to keep that rush going get themselves into riskier and riskier situations once there. Tonya (Margot Robbie)has been there for some time and is successful, but *SPOILER ALERT* eventually she goes too far hunting down the next story and gets someone killed and herself injured. Iain (Martin Freeman) develops a relationship with Kim Baker and in search of a bigger story manages to get himself kidnapped. Luckily, these chain of events have shown Kim that sometimes adventure is too much adventure. There is living and then there is just being a moron.
Much like she was stuck in her cubicle of life, not really living, she is now trapped in the “Kabubble.” Life is now full of danger, but it’s not really living. She is chasing after that next “high” and if she keeps going, she’s going to get someone killed or even herself. Luckily, she figures this out in time…
Kim has a conversation with Fahim (Christopher Abbott), to this point, about halfway through the movie. She had gotten into a dangerous situation and there were consequences. Fahim sits her down to provide advice, warning her about being addicted to the rush of danger. Sadly, Fey’s humorous one-liners in this conversation upstage the advice her character needs and the scene has less of an impact on the audience. This scene is really important for Kim Baker’s character development, but it doesn’t stand out as much as it should. This is a good example of it’s confusing blend of comedy.
But…I liked this movie because it felt very real. There was a good blend of humor and danger and stupidity and drama to match real life, but it should have been executed as a film much more refined. A movie must be direct with a clear storyline and clear emotions. This movie jumps between humor and danger and drama so much that the audience doesn’t know what to feel.
I give them an A for effort, but a C+ for actual execution.