In the Loop

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

During a radio interview on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, Minister for International Development Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) accidentally states that a war in the Middle East is “unforeseeable”. He is told off for not remaining neutral by the Prime Minister’s enforcer, Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi). But when later caught by news cameras Foster makes a further mistake by saying there may be a need to “climb the mountain of conflict”. The two contradictory statements coincide with a visit by senior U.S. State Department officials, who jump on Foster’s two quotations and begin to use him, and his hapless new aide Toby (Chris Addison), as pawns in an international political game.


And the first review for 2014 is….In the Loop? I bet you’re wondering what the hell is this crap and why is it special enough to warrant the prestigious honor of being the first review of the year? Well, I actually was going to do a “revisited” to start the year off, but someone advised against that. If you a member of the sci-fi community, and especially if you’re a Dr. Who fan, then you are well aware that we have a new Doctor, Peter Capaldi. The other weekend, I was looking him up on Youtube and came across a hilarious commentary about his dirty mouth, which led to a clip from this film. Morbid curiosity took over, and here we are.

What is this about?

When the U.S. president and the U.K. prime minister decide to invade a certain Middle Eastern country, skeptical American and British operatives do their best to stop the runaway train to war in director Armando Iannucci’s scathing political comedy.

What did I like?

My girl. This is a small something to like, but it was nice to see. Those of you that were around in the late 80s/early 90s may remember a little film called My Girl that starred McCauley Culkin and Anna Chlumsky. For years, I have wondered what ever happened to Anna. I think I saw her on some show that lasted a couple of episodes on CW, but that was it. Well, it is good to see that she still has some kind of career, not to mention the fact that she doesn’t look half bad.

Politics. I don’t pretend to know anything about political stuff. Occasionally, I’ll flip through the channels and stop on HLN or CNN, but not for long. Most of my news comes from The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, or on-line. So, the fact that this is a political black comedy did nothing for me, as far as interest me or not. However, I did appreciate that it took an unfortunate event/subject, such as the middle east and poked fun at the way it was handled.

Doctor, Doctor. Sometimes a film or television show will come along that just allows the star to take over. I’m not so sure Peter Capaldi is the star of this film, but he takes it over, much in the same way characters like Urkel took Family Matters and other sitcoms back in the good ol’ days. Capaldi’s character is crass, rude, and has a mouth on him that would cause a sailor to blush, and through all of this the scenes he appears in are the ones you want to watch.

What didn’t I like?

Constituent. At a later point n the film, we are introduced to a constituent on Tom Hollander’s Prime Minister character. I’m still not sure what the point of this guy was, other than just to get Steve Coogan on the screen. Someone said it in a podcast once, when Coogan comes to America, he plays a dumbass, but in England he is a sophisticated, serious actor. Seeing as this is an English picture, you can guess which kind of character he played.

Is there a doctor in the house? As I mentioned earlier, without Peter Capaldi’s character, this film wouldn’t have two legs to stand on. Well, I take that back. It would be alright, just not worth watching, unless you’re into serious political dramas, which I am most certainly not. The only character that comes close to Capaldi is another Scot, not really sure what his title was, who had a mouth just as bad. I wonder if this was some kind of poke at the foul language of the Scottish?

Pwip Pip. All hell breaks loose when a paper, written by Anna Chlumsky’s character, is leaked, sending all the players every which way but up. The fact that they were all running around like chickens with their heads cut off is not the main issue here, but rather the fact this pwip pip paper is never fully explained to us, the audience. Then again, when was the last time a politician explained something, right? Still, we got more information about James Gandolfini’s bowel movements in this film, then we did pertinent information,

As I said, my main reason for watching In the Loop was to see what our new Dr. Who could do, especially since he was in that regeneration episode all of 15 seconds. I found this film mildly entertaining. Had I not watched Capaldi’s clips over and over again, and have them nearly committed to memory by doing so, I might have found more enjoyment out of this.  That is part of the problem I have this film. All of the best parts can be seen on youtube, and I would highly recommend going there, rather than sitting through some rather boring scenes in between. Still, if you want to see the whole package, it is there for you to view on Netflix streaming (as of this posting).

3 out of 5 stars


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