A full review will be dropping later in the week, but it’s worth noting that John Cusack’s War, Inc., releasing this weekend in New York and Los Angeles, is a hot mess. The film is a sprawling, alleged satire about a shadowy gunslinger-fixer (Cusack) who trips to a fictional Middle Eastern country that the United States has invaded — and is now being occupied by a private army fronted by a corporation run by the former American vice president (Dan Aykroyd) — to both bump off a foreign dignitary who has the temerity to want to build his own oil pipeline and, for some reason never quite made clear, preside over the impending marriage of a Middle Eastern pop star played by Hilary Duff.
There are a few pockets of very small intrigue here, mostly owing to the charmed participation of Marisa Tomei, as a hard-driving, liberal reporter who is out to expose the corruption of this massive exercise in American “branding.” When the movie stoops to contrivances to advance the relationship between she and Cusack beyond spitfire head-bumping, however, what little air there was there goes completely pfft. Apart from its simply awful construction, the most surprising thing, however, may be how tedious the film is — there’s not even the piercing, occasional amusement of diamond-brilliant, unpolished righteous anger. If capital-I indignation were going to make a scathing, satirical rebuke of American military/capitalistic arrogance, but then had a few beers, fell asleep on the couch, woke up with a start four hours later with nachos all over its shirt and MSNBC on the TV, and then just yawningly agreed with whatever Rachel Maddow was saying, and muttered, “Fucking Bush administration” under its breath, that would be this movie. It doesn’t feel thought through, honed or even self-assured, and certainly not very smart.