John Cusak

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War, Inc. Review


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The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, and in the case of John Cusack's over-the-top satire of the Iraq War, War, Inc., the intentions are obvious and the road leads to a particular place in Hell presided over by filmmakers (Stanley Kramer resides on the throne there) who want to fight the good fight but use a two-by-four pounded into the back of a viewer's head to emphasize the obvious. As writer/producer/star of War, Inc. Cusack wants to make a statement about the venality of the United States' involvement in Iraq and wants to make that statement in the worst way. And, unfortunately, he does. Cusack attempts to reconceive the hit man premise of Grosse Point Blank as a lacerating and biting political satire in the vein of Dr. Strangelove or Wag the Dog. Unfortunately, the end result is more along the lines of those disastrous, live-action cartoonish romps of the stinky 1960s vintage a la John Goldfarb, Please Come Home.

As in Grosse Point Blank, Cusack plays a world-weary hit man, Brand Hauser, who works for a Halliburton-inspired international corporation that has just completed a contract on the first 100-percent outsourced road in the fictional Middle Eastern country of Turaqistan. The head honcho of the corporation is the ex-Vice President (Dan Akyroyd on a toilet) who orders Hauser into Turaqistan to assassinate the chief Turaqistani minister, Omar Sharif (Lyubomir Neikov). Omar plans to one-up the corporation by installing his own oil pipeline in competition, and the corporation will have none of that. Hauser arrives under cover as the head of the Brand USA Trade Show, where he is responsible for a big gala extravaganza starring Yonica Babyyeah (Hilary Duff in a change of pace role as a sexy, slutty Britney Spears clone; at one point she moans pointedly after dropping a scorpion down her pants). Also on hand in Turaqistan is Natalie Hegalhuzen (Marisa Tomei), a Nation-esque reporter who immediately rubs Hauser the wrong way. Could this be love?

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