Charlie Wilson’s War is going to be a wittier, zippier film than the timidly political picture being sold by this theatrical trailer, so the question before Universal now is how do they more effectively play up the screwball buoyancy of Sorkin’s screenplay. Because they’ve got to. Otherwise, the film will continue to look like a movie that doesn’t know what it wants to be. And it just can’t be that kind of film, not with Mike Nichols directing.
Or can it? Regardless of whether Nichols succeeds fully enough to deliver a classic (or, lowering our sights a bit, a Best Picture winner), I have every confidence that Sorkin’s requisite glibness won’t alienate audiences (which is but one of the many reasons Studio 60 collapsed in a very expensive heap). Nichols is a master of the urbane, and, aside from Julia Roberts, he’s assembled a cast that can spout Sorkin’s brand of heavily stylized dialogue without looking and sounding too self-satisfied. This will be, at the very least, a immensely entertaining movie.
That said, this trailer reminds me that someone needs to compile a master list of songs that must be banned from films, and their trailers, entirely. I will gladly undertake this. Anything to spare us the electric danger of "All Along the Watchtower" or the cheap, subversive deployment of Don McLean’s empty-headed anthem "American Pie" (it’s the
ironist’s "For What It’s Worth", don’t you know?). License someone else’s shit for once. I’m sure Donnie Iris could use the money.
Charlie Wilson’s War is this year’s big Christmas Day release. And it appears to be going wide so as not to duplicate the folly of Dreamgirls (which probably cost itself an extra $50 million domestic by platforming into January).