First Hit: Although uneven in its execution, I liked the resulting story as a whole.
WTF has an appeal in a couple of ways. The title was interesting because it is what Kim Baker (Tina Fey) felt about her life. She was in an uninspired relationship with her boyfriend, her news reporting job is as tenuous as it is monotonous and she realized that she was sleepwalking through life. She’s given a chance to go to Afghanistan to report on a fading war.
The news focus is on Iraq and the US has troops in Afghanistan and her network wants someone there to get and report on the best news nuggets available. Kim decides to take the leap and almost immediately she regrets the choice. However, as you’d expect, she finds her sea legs and starts to dig for stories and eventually lands an excellent one by being embedded in one of General Hollanek’s (Billy Bob Thornton) units.
Unfortunately, we see Kim fall into the partying ways of her peers with no understanding as to why. Her friendship with Tanya Vanderpoel (Margot Robbie), one of the few other women in compound, seemed shallow.
The script attempted to make these two be good friends, but there was something palpable missing. Labeled as a "Comedy", there was very little that is funny about this film which added to the unevenness.
The notable components for me were: The outstanding performance of Christopher Abbott as Fahim Ahmadzai, who was Baker’s interpreter. He really embodied a sweetness and intelligence of the culture and his performance stayed with me long after the credits. When Kim spoke with a group of Afghani village women only to find out that they were destroying the wells was another really good scene. However, there seemed little depth to Baker and this did drag the film down and made for some scenes that could have been cut.
The ending scenes, however, brought the film back together. Her meeting with Specialist Coughlin (Evan Jonigkeit) at his ranch was very heartfelt as was her bringing Iain MacKelpie (Martin Freeman), a lover from Afghanistan, on to her Washington news program.
Fey was uneven in her performance and I never really bought that she bought into the character. There seemed to be a slight disconnect at times. Other times her interpretation of the character worked well enough. Abbott was phenomenal, I so loved his character. His eyes said it all. Robbie was OK, but almost out of place based on her character and the situation. Freeman was strong as the guy who found a home in being a photographer in a war torn country. Thornton was perfect as the Marine General who was a sarcastic, tough, and compassionate leader. Jonigkeit was excellent as the Marine who suffered and grew from the experience. Alfred Molina as Ali Massoud Sadiq was another bright spot in the film. Robert Carlock and Kim Barker wrote the screenplay based on Barker’s account of being in Afghanistan. Glenn Ficarra and John Requa directed the film and as I’ve learned; when there is more than one director the chances of unevenness are more available and pronounced.
Overall: Through the unevenness the ending and a few other great scenes made it work well enough.