Combustible Celluloid
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With: Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, Gina McKee, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison, Anna Chlumsky, Enzo Cilenti, Paul Higgins, Mimi Kennedy, Alex MacQueen, Johnny Pemberton, Olivia Poulet, David Rasche, Joanna Scanlan, James Smith, Steve Coogan, Zach Woods
Written by: Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Ian Martin, Tony Roche
Directed by: Armando Iannucci
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 106
Date: 01/22/2009

In the Loop (2009)

3 Stars (out of 4)

The Thick of It

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Armando Iannucci's political satire moves so fast and fires off so many jokes that it may seem cleverer than it really is. But it's definitely a good time. It starts just prior to an armed conflict not unlike the current Iraq fiasco, when a small-time British government minister (Tom Hollander) gives an interview and remarks, "War is unforeseeable." From there, it's a frantic political chess game with all kinds of British and American spin doctors trying to save their jobs and make sure they appear on the side that's winning. (The joke is that none of these people particularly care if anyone goes to war or not.) Peter Capaldi reprises his role of Malcolm Tucker from the BBC TV series "In the Thick of It," the communications director for the Prime Minister; he blusters around in a constant state of superior anger, firing F-bombs as often as he exhales. James Gandolfini is particularly superb as a pentagon desk general. Anna Chlumsky, who was once a little girl in My Girl (1991), also stars in a definite grown-up role.

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