Though they released it almost a year ago, I finally got around to watching the Netflix original movie, Foreign Correspondents. It's written and directed by Ricky Gervais, who did a very nice job with both -- based on a French film, Envoyés très spéciaux, It tells the story of a self-centered radio reporter and his put-upon technician who are sent to cover a war in Ecuador, but through a screw-up never get there and instead have to pretend to cover it from an apartment in New York City. And because the borders are closed before other journalists are able to arrive, they end up therefore having an "exclusive." It only streams on Netflix, so if you don't subscribe to that service, you're unfortunately out of luck, though hopefully it will be released on DVD at some point.
I thought it was quite well-done and often very funny, coming up with a range of ways to keep twisting the plot, continually creating more convoluted problems for the two guys. It's not a flamboyant, over-the-top farce, but for my taste I particularly liked its low-key, often subtle nature. The film stars Eric Bana and Gervais and both were very good -- Bana dry in his role and objective in his awareness of their lunatic situation, and Gervais more hopeful and very self-effacing. Good as they are, I almost even-more enjoyed America Ferrera as the very sweet, helpful and utterly dim-witted wife of the couple who let Bana and Gervais use their spare bedroom. I laughed at almost every line she delivered. I also liked Kelly Macdonald as a low-level reporter at the station who has a sort of Greek-chorus sensibility to her reaction of everything her. Also in the cast are Vera Farmiga (in a scene-chewing role as Gervais' annoyed wife who sees herself on center stage -- the song she writes for herself is very funny and written in real life by Gervais) and Kevin Pollack as the well-meaning station manager.
Here's the trailer. They do a pretty good job capturing the movie, though there's a lot more quipping and interpersonal relationship in the film and much less war action than the trailer suggests..
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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