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War, Inc

Year: 2008
Production Co: New Crime Productions
Director: Joshua Seftel
Producer: John Cusack
Writer: Mark Leyner/Jeremy Pikser/John Cusack
Cast: John Cusack, Marisa Tomei, Hilary Duff, Joan Cusack, Dan Aykroyd, Ben Kinglsey

It's tempting to say John Cusack's best work is when he occupies the satirical edge of movies like Being John Malkovich or Bob Roberts, not the paycheque mainstream of Con Air.

But in even those films it's very hard not to like his sardonic, oddball leading man shtick. It's when/if he ever tries to play a can-do leading man that he stumbles a little, which is why I didn't really like him in Grosse Point Blank as much as many people. The hangdog, aw-shucks demeanour that makes him so appealing just wasn't there.

He plays a can-do assassin here like he did in Grosse Point Blank, but something about his clueless sarcasm remains and makes him the ideal centerpiece for this farce.

It's a comment on war privatisation and the brute force of American culture in the Middle East. Hauser (Cusack) is given the assignment of killing a politician in the country of Turiqistan, his cover to organise a trade fair for American corporations profiting from the war there.

But when he gets mired in details like the left wing reporter he can't get out of his mind (Tomei) and hosting the wedding of a spoilt Middle Eastern pop princess (Duff), the job becomes exponentially harder.

Not all of it works and the needlessly action-packed climax feels like it was tacked on to justify the budget, but as a whole it's an effective and funny send-up of our times.

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