With two lines and one fell swoop, Time‘s Richard Corliss has simultaneously given Charlie Wilson’s War a nice pat on the back and damned its Oscar chances with faint praise. Death quote #1: “It could be the one war film people will enjoy seeing.” Death quote #2: “Audiences should have a great time watching it.”
Corliss is saying the film has a decent shot with the “leave-us-aloners” who’ve avoided all the Middle Eastern sand movies thus far. He’s not saying it’s a lock with this crowd — words like “should” and “could” in this context are obviously fraught with qualification — but he’s obviously implying that a moviegoer who enjoys going to Disneyworld one week may also have a good time with Charlie Wilson’s War the next.
Mike Nichols‘ film is about a good-time Texas Congressman (Tom Hanks), a Houston socialtie (Julia Roberts) and a CIA guy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) helping to surreptitiously funnel arms to Afgahnistan’s mujahdin in their early ’80s battle against the Soviet invaders. Corliss is calling it “at heart a can-do comedy about a wheeler-dealer having a good time doing good.”