I saw War, Inc. on DVD last night. Family Video was showing the trailer on the overhead TV and it looked cute.
The good news is that it only cost $2.79 to rent the movie at Family Video.
The bad news is that it wasn't worth it.
Listen, there is no doubt a potential comedy that tells the story of a harried foreign service flak-catcher, armed with contemporary clichés about "diversity", attempting to foist our idea of progress on a far outpost of America's accidental empire. After all, serious movies have been made that have mined this vein for comic relief.
But what we got instead was itself a cliché -- or rather, a collection of warmed-over Vietnam-era clichés seasoned with the masturbatory fantasies of a Daily Kos commenter.
In the movie, the army of occupation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of an American conglomerate, chaired by "the former vice-President" (gee, whomever could they mean?), with interests in everything from oil to fast-food. The foreign-service officer (John Cusack) is in reality a contract assassin and the trade show he is promoting merely the cover he uses to eliminate the conglomerate's rival in the oil business. We get treated to American soldiers mindlessly shooting civilians (that's what they do, after all!), a perky crusading journalist (Marisa Tomei) who spends her time "unmasking corporate greed when she's not washing her hair" (Get it? Being a leftist doesn't mean looking dowdy!), and the only foreign terrorists we actually see are simply aping the culture of American gangsta' rap. (Get it? Everything is America's fault!)
War, Inc., in both style and substance, reminded me of nothing so much as the movie Canadian Bacon, which advertised itself as a fun poke at U.S. - Canadian differences but was instead a vehicle for left-wing America bashing.
On a bright note, it was fun watching Cusack's slithery assassin bring his A-game to charming Tomei's journalist against her will. And at 44, Tomei is still easy on the eyes. But even this romantic angle degenerates into the usual story of the assassin-who-falls-in-love-and-renounces-his-evil-ways.
Recommendation: save your $2.79.