Yet another war film brought to you with good intentions and all-too transparent politics, Charlie Wilson’s War fares better than some (Lions for Lambs, Rendition). Still, with the Iraq war spiraling down endlessly and a big election year looming, the last place most people want to escape to is a dark movie theater where someone else’s opinion gets shoved down their throat.

Charlie Wilson’s War, a more historical and humorous approach, succeeds mostly when Philip Seymour Hoffman comes into view. Terrific in The Savages and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Hoffman’s original performance would be surprising in its sheer bravado if it weren’t for the fact that we’ve come to expect nothing less from him.

If only the rest of the cast, and the film itself, could have risen to Hoffman’s level.

Grade: B- (Hoffman: A)

Charlie Wilson’s War is currently available.