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In The Loop

by Leonard Maltin
December 9, 2009 12:14 AM
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Here’s a novelty: a smart, sassy, relevant and multifaceted political satire. Director Armando Iannucci and his writing team, experienced in the world of standup and television comedy in Britain, got their feet wet with a politically-oriented TV series called The Thick of It. This feature is an expansion of ideas and concepts that originated there. Tom Hollander, a talented actor whom you’ll recognize from a variety of films (including—no kidding—Pirates of the Caribbean), plays a...

bureaucrat who sticks his foot in his mouth every time he opens it in front of a microphone. Before anyone can stop him he’s made provocative remarks about going to war, which brings the government’s furiously foul-mouthed communications director (Peter Capaldi) to his office for a showdown. Then we’re off and running. Before long, Hollander, his new aide, and other Brits are meeting with representatives in Washington, including self-absorbed elected officials (nicely played by Mimi Kennedy and David Rasche), their aides, and an independent-minded General (James Gandolfini).

In the Loop is brash, audacious, and maintains an off-the-cuff quality that never spotlights or underscores its jokes. You simply have to pay attention—and be ready for an onslaught of four-letter words. A first-rate cast includes Gina McKee, Anna Chlumsky, Chris Addison, and in an amusing cameo, Steve Coogan, who achieved stardom in a show Ianucci directed and co-wrote, Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge. In the Loop is well worth seeing, either in a theater on demand, where it will be available beginning July 29.

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