(out of 5)
Tina Fey stars in and produces an adaptation of Kim Barker’s memoir about working as a reporter in Afghanistan. Selected as one of her network’s employees with neither spouse nor child and therefore have nothing to lose, Fey goes to Kabul in 2003 and is immediately plunged into a situation for which she is ill-prepared: culture shock, the madness of the battlefield and the colourful personalities surrounding her make for a quick study in survival, a situation she grows accustomed to over three years, while, back home, interest in the war wanes and her work is increasingly ignored by producers. This “Kabubble” she is in, which also includes flirtation with co-worker Martin Freeman, also becomes something of a dangerous addiction, her charmingly self-effacing attitude in peril of becoming full-blown, burned out cynicism. Lightly told and featuring plenty of witty moments, the film is marred only by a surface performance by the always affable Fey, a brilliant writer and outstanding purveyor of comedy who is always too self-aware to put a character across fully despite being so charismatic; it’s easy to hear her deliver the dialogue, but there’s never a sense that her situation changes her in any deep way. She’s such a welcome presence in films that it’s easily forgiven, and there’s a muddled lack of focus to Glenn Ficarra and John Requa’s direction that would be a problem anyway, but it is surprising how little an impression this one makes despite having so many successful elements.
Cinematography by Xavier Grobet
Music by Nick Urata
Production Design by Beth Mickle
Costume Design by Lisa Lovaas
Film Editing by Jan Kovac
Cast Tags: Abdullah Sarkash, Abrahaim Alexander Faizar, Akeem Ayanniyi, Alfred Molina, Andres Segura, Andy Brooks,Ava Del Cielo, Bernardo Saracino, Billy Bob Thornton, Brandon K. Hampton, Brenden Wedner, Cherry Jones, Chris Stagner, Christopher Abbott, Ciara Bergman, Daniel Flash Hagan, David Stanford, Demosthenes Chrysan, Di Zhu, Dylan Kenin, Eb Lottimer, Edward Soleta Salman, Eli Goodman, Eric Steinig, Erik Gonzales, Evan Jonigkeit, Fahim Anwar, Gareson Gopala, Glen Roberts, Hakim Zamir, Hank Rogerson, Howard Ferguson Jr., Jahan Khalili, James R. Tynes, Jessica Johnstone, John Trejo,Jon Kristian Moore, Josh Charles, Juan Carlos Mora, Katyia Shurkin, Kazim Aminy, Kenneth Miller, Kevin Collins, Lauren Poole, Maha Charani, Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Matthew Page, Monica Sanchez, Monique Candelaria, Mustafa Haidari, Nicholas Braun, Peter Amaral, Ron Weisberg, Saleem Hekmati, Saneh Boothe, Scott Takeda, Sheila Vand, Soledad O’Brien, Sophia Kerr,Stafford Douglas, Stephen Peacocke, Sterling K. Brown, Steve Corona, Suhail Aldabbach, Susan Khalili, Tad Jones,Thomas Kretschmann, Tina Fey, Tommy Truex, Vic Browder, Zarif Kabier