Who's In It: Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, Gina McKee, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison, Anna Chlumsky, Mimi Kennedy, Paul Higgins, Steve Coogan
The Basics: Government functionaries from the U.K. and the U.S.A. jockey for position, press and power as the allies ramp up to an unnamed Middle East war in this almost plot-free comedy. Not that you'll mind the zig-zag of the setting and endless distraction that keeps a story from happening. The point here is that countless lives are about to be potentially destroyed and for these appointed and elected officials it's all just careerism. And that's hilarious.
What's The Deal: This movie is from a name you probably don't know--Armando Iannucci. But if you know British comedy then you've seen or at least know about The Day Today, The Thick of It and Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge, all of which he had a hand in producing. To put it in more popular terms, it's like The Office meets Dr. Strangelove (though not quite as laser sharp as either of them), where blustering, miserable, despicable people crash against each other in the hopes of coming out on top. All the awkward pauses, misbehavior and irritating funcomfortability American audiences have slowly warmed up to is on display. What's not to like?
Who's Great: Peter Capaldi (old-school indie movie audiences will remember him from the '80s film Local Hero) is a ferocious jerk, blasting everyone who crosses his path with scathing insults, the kind of man who thinks he's running the show but is really just an obnoxious bully his colleagues would like to see get hit by a bus. Though any guy who can insult someone by referencing the film Love Actually is kind of okay by me. Honorable mention to James Gandolfini as the bemused Pentagon official who'd rather be anywhere but on the job, and the surprising return of My Girl child star Anna Chlumsky as an extremely sarcastic low-level assistant.
Another Way To Think About It: The Daily Show: The Movie