While Tina Fey has made her mark in the film world through a number of movies even before she ruled the proverbial comedy club as Liz Lemon, her film career has been characterized by two important factors: those movies have often been flops, and she hasn’t gotten her due time as the star of her own vehicle yet. Obviously, Fey gets top billing whenever she’s in a film, but it’s often shared with the likes of another extremely likeable comedian who’s there to split the limelight – and a little bit of the downfall, if we’re going to be honest – when it comes premiere time: Paul Rudd (Admission), Steve Carell (Date Night), and Amy Poehler (Baby Mama).
Now Fey finally has the chance to shine on her own with a film that she’s also producing alongside Lorne Michaels. The Taliban Shuffle is an adaptation of journalist Kim Parker’s book “The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Fey will be portraying Parker back in 2002 as she travels on assignment to Kabul, Afghanistan. Parker has little experience with world travel and does not speak Arabic, so her job proves to be difficult from the onset. But as she continues to push on through and get her assignment done, she grows to love the Middle East and the people who live there – while also feeling like peace is impossible for the turmoiled region.
While none of that sounds remotely comedic, Lorne Michaels involvement and the fact that the script is being penned by former 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live writer Robert Carlock is every indication that this is another comedy for Fey. This sheer force of Fey-based talent at play on the team should be enough to sooth fears that this might not be that funny. While it would be better (it would always be better) if Fey were writing the script herself, it’s understandable why this isn’t on her plate; the actress has Muppets Most Wanted and This is Where I Leave You coming down the pipeline, as well as two new shows that’s she’s writing and producing for Fox and NBC (the NBC one with Carlock).
It’s true that Shuffle could be the film to catapult Fey into solo film stardom – and that’s important if this is the venue she wants to continue working in as an actress post-30 Rock, as opposed to television, where she’s already proved her weight time and time again. But the thing about Fey is that she’ll also be fine no matter what happens; the woman is a certifiable national treasure who could probably just host the Golden Globes once a year forever and still rightly deserve the same accolades. Let’s just see if a slightly uptight, bespectacled (assuming, but right?) journalist trying to make her way through the Middle East is where she can make it work.