<i>In The Loop</i>

An argument can easily be made that a great political satire has not been released since Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. That being said, writing and directing a political satire is hard – really, really hard.

So who better than to take on the daunting task of lambasting America’s recent display of imperialistic ignorance while also conquering the topic currently on top of every studio’s blacklist than a bunch of British guys with a penchant for balls-out parody and foul-mouthed improvisation?

In the Loop, the latest comical import from across the pond, is a provocative, smart-talking political satire helmed by writer-director Armando Iannucci. An acclaimed filmmaker in the UK, Iannucci is responsible for the BAFTA-winning television series “The Thick of It,” a comedy centered around the inner-workings of the British government that not-so-surprisingly inspired its feature film counterpart.

“In the Loop exists in the universe of ‘The Thick of It,’ but it’s outside the world of the television series,” says the film’s producer and Iannucci’s longtime collaborator Adam Tandy. “It’s not just ‘The Thick of It’ the movie – it’s got its own slice of the universe.”

Iannucci and his team of writers take the Brit’s seemingly innate talent to shamelessly poke fun at their monarchs one step further in In the Loop, setting the film in both London and Washington, D.C. for a hilarious clash of culture and egos where oftentimes, the actors’ volatile, tongue-twisting quips and delightfully awkward expressions overpower the intricately plotted script – a testament to Iannucci’s skill at improvisation.

“For me and the actors I work with, we’re all in [acting] because we like to play. So we just play around – that’s what is was like with Armando,” says Anna Chlumsky, who plays Liza, the doe-eyed and dovish intern. “Armando was like, ‘This is the idea. Go.’ And it was like, let’s see what happens.”

Iannucci not only welcomed improv to ease the flow of the scenes; he also let the actors fully inhabit their characters by employing various political etiquette and tactics to set the film’s overall tone and pacing.

“The first day, Armando explained Bladder Diplomacy, which Madeleine Albright taught all her staffers – if you left the room, you lost power,” Chlumsky explains. “The whole underlying lesson is that we have to leave, but everything has this huge amount of urgency.”

“It was all about the timing. This has to be done now, there is no question, it has to be done now,” adds Mimi Kennedy, who plays U.S. assistant secretary of diplomacy Karen Clarke. “Urgency for an actor is key for magical performances because you’re not in a boring place at any time.”

Though the film’s stance on war and mortality is virtually nonexistent, what makes In the Loop refreshing – aside from its British novelty – is Iannucci’s absolute disregard for heavy-handed political agendas. But that’s not to say Iannucci does not know his politics – despite its absurdity, In the Loop is hardly a dramatization of the world’s political bigwigs.

“Since filming, many events have allegedly transpired in the UK very close to what’s in the film,” Kennedy says. “Armando felt a bit clairvoyant, but he was really just trying to make sense of the result that he knew was in front of him. The beauty of genius is that the insight does lead you to human behavior that has actually occurred.”

“His interests are so tapped in to his surroundings,” Chlumsky adds. “He kinda just let himself run mad with all these details.”

With so much faith in their director, the cast’s sole concern on the eve of In the Loop’s release is not the possibility of sour reviews, but the reaction to the film’s excessive use of profanity, and if it will deter more conservative-minded filmgoers from entering theaters.

“I have thought of it in terms of kids,” Kennedy admits. “There will be people who say, ‘I never want to hear my child speak like this, and therefore this is out of bounds.’ But my only answer is: You never want your child to behave like this, so let them see this behavior ridiculed.”

Chlumsky nods in agreement. “Even Armando said he’s not impressed by the actual swear words, but by how creative we can get with threatening each other.”

They threaten. They insult. They drop the F-bomb. And they take themselves way too seriously. It might look like another night on CNN, but for 106 minutes, In the Loop gives us something our reality has been missing – a laugh.

In the Loop releases in select theaters July 24.