In the Loop Review

(3.5 STARS)

Fuck! In the Loop is a fucking funny movie! Never has a movie used profanity in such large fuckin’ amounts or in such a great fucking way, but it makes this movie. A satire about the ineptitudes of government, In the Loop doesn’t make any thought-provoking points (except that members of government are often ass-covering blowhards), but it’s entertaining as hell. Not a moment goes by in which I wasn’t laughing my fucking ass off. It’s hard to imagine anyone disliking this fucking film.

After British Minister Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) makes the grave error of publicly stating a war in the Middle East is “unforeseeable,” other members of the British and American governments go into damage control. War is inevitable, as evidenced by the creation of an American secret war committee (which is under the guise of the “Future Planning Committee,” the most boring name its creator could think of). As an act of good-will, the Americans invite Foster to represent the U.K. at the committee meeting, so he heads across the pond with Toby (Chris Addison), his foolish aide, and Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), Simon’s foul-mouthed, quick-tempered superior. All this goes on while a small group of American government employees, including Karen Clarke (Mimi Kennedy) and Lt. Gen. George Miller (James Gandolfini), tries to stop the war, and the committee, with PWPPIP, a report outlining the likely problems and failures associated with the potential war.

The plot is more of a framework to allow the characters to run around and make fools of themselves and their respective countries. Also, they curse … a lot. It’s so profane. At first, it seemed a little artificial, but it really grew on me quickly. I laughed harder every time Malcolm threatened to kill someone or rip off one of their body parts. A lot of it is pretty broad humor, but for a political junkie like me, the situations are extraordinarily entertaining.

The cast is made up largely of unknowns. The most familiar face obviously is Gandolfini. To his credit, he doesn’t stand out too much. He also has some great lines (like when he says his head looks like a ball sack). The best of the bunch is Peter Capaldi as Malcolm. His was honestly one of the most enjoyable performances I’ve seen in a long time. He’s so angry about everything and never has trouble thinking up some insulting nickname for one of his subordinates. The fact that he’s not being seriously considered for a Best Supporting Actor nomination is criminal. It’s the definition of a great supporting role.

In the Loop was one of the most enjoyable watches of 2009 and has a great chance at making it on my final end-of-year list. Director and co-writer Armando Iannucci chose to make a film about situations ripe for parody, and he was successful far beyond my expectations. I wish other filmmakers tackling satire had the guts Iannucci had. Other films of the genre often feel limp. That’s the last word I would use to describe In the Loop.

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