John Cusack's meander through his second-consecutive anti-war film is coming under heavy fire at the Tribeca Film Festival, where War, Inc. bowed this week to the kinds of reviews that made his previous Iraq entry — the $50,899-grossing Grace is Gone — positively shine in comparison. While he and his agent sift around for a more reliable rom-com follow-up, our preliminary poke through the wreckage yields yet more smoldering evidence that Iraq is officially over as a dramatic subject. We piece together the eyewitness testimony after the jump:
Cusack, in the latest of a seemingly endless (and psychologically curious) string of hitman roles, plays Hauser, a typically troubled assassin whose inner psyche is so dead that he resorts to downing shot glasses of hot sauce in order to feel anything. His latest mission, at the behest of Tamerlane — a Halliburton-type corporation run by a Dick Cheney-like former vice president (Dan Aykroyd) — is to assassinate a Middle Eastern oil minister named Omar Sharif (an example of the film's humor) who is threatening to undercut their plans to build an oil pipeline in the wartorn country of Turaqistan. — Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
He also encounters a reporter for The Nation (Marisa Tomei!), a Central European pop tart named Yonica Babyyeah (Hillary Duff) who drops a scorpion down her pants and a hysterical double-agent (played by Cusack's real-life sister Joan running the trade show that serves as Cusack's cover — featuring a chorus line of amputees with high-tech prosthetic limbs. And I haven't mentioned Sir Ben Kingsley, sporting another one of his eccentric American accents, as a Big Brother-like character. — Lou Lumenick, NY Post
Films like this and Redacted and Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? exist to make their makers feel good about their own political correctness, and content that their razor-thin world views are accurate and viable, when in fact they represent a tiny fraction of the bigger picture. This is not activism—this is self-congratulation. — Karina Longworth, Spout Blog
It gets worse from there, but again, we'd prefer to think of Cusack as we remember him: a tasteful man whose recent lapses into treacle and trash (Martian Child, John? Really?) warrant a Sure Thing sequel or, better yet, the prompt franchising of Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything Else. It's not like Cameron Crowe couldn't use the boost himself.
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]