Charlie Wilson's War, the darkly comedic true story of the largest and most successful covert operation in US history, leaves critics mostly charmed. The Mike Nichols project featuring Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Julia Roberts "is that rare Hollywood commodity these days," writes Variety's Todd McCarthy, "a smart, sophisticated entertainment for grownups."
Nichols "succeeds in spinning an entertaining yarn," says The Onion A.V. Club's Nathan Rabin, "but the cautionary aspects feel fatally undernourished." Robert Wilonsky of the Village Voice sums up the dilemma, writing, "Dark and funny and mean and sexy, damned near pitch-black-perfect considering that at the end of this boozy comedy you wind up with, oh, Osama bin Laden."