Recreating his role as a hitman, John Cusack gives a hilarious performance in War, Inc., a political satire set in Turaqistan, a Country occupied by an American private corporation run by a former U.S. Vice President (Dan Aykroyd). In an effort to monopolize the opportunities the war-torn nation offers, the corporation's CEO hires Hauser (Cusack) to kill a Middle Eastern oil minister. Now, struggling with his own growing demons, the assassin must pose as the corporation s Trade Show Producer in order to pull off this latest hit, while maintaining his cover by organizing the high-profile wedding of Yonica Babyyeah (Hilary Duff), an outrageous Central Asian pop star, and keeping a sexy left-wing reporter (Marisa Tomei) in check.
A wobbly mix of violence and sentiment, War, Inc.
takes up where Grosse Pointe Blank
left off. A conscience-stricken killer in the previous film, producer/co-writer Cusack now plays an international assassin. In Joshua Seftel's political satire, corporations operate like governments. In the volatile nation of Turaqistan, Cusack's hot sauce-addicted Brand Hauser sets his sights on Omar Sharif--the oil baron, not the actor (it's never clear why this is meant to be funny). As a cover, Hauser passes as the producer for an economic trade show with fellow operative Marsha (Joan Cusack) acting as his assistant. Trained by Southern smoothie Walken (Ben Kingsley) in his CIA days (depicted though flashbacks), Hauser now takes orders from an oily CEO (Grosse Pointe
co-star Dan Aykroyd). Offing Sharif, however, turns out to be harder than expected. Hauser's obstacles include left-wing journalist Natalie Hegalhuzen (Marisa Tomei) and foul-mouthed pop tart Yonica Babyyeah (Hilary Duff, erasing innocent images of Lizzy McGuire
). Cusack and his crew come up with a few clever ideas, but too many crass gags blunt their thesis about military contractors run amok. Pitched somewhere between Stanley Kubricks Dr. Strangelove
and Mike Judges Idiocracy
, War, Inc.
registers as more of a miss than a hit. On the plus side, Cusack and Tomei have a snappy rapport; it's the more over-the-top performers who look out of place, especially Ms. Cusack and Kingsley, though the latter's deft turn as a boozy hit man in the overlooked You Kill Me
almost makes up for this misfire. --Kathleen C. Fennessy