Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Men Who Stare at Goats

Directed by Grant Heslov.
2009. Rated R, 94 minutes.
George Clooney
Ewan McGregor
Jeff Bridges
Kevin Spacey
Stephen Lang
Robert Patrick
Waleed Zuaiter
Nick Offerman

Reporter Bob Wilton (McGregor) follows Lyn Cassady (Clooney) around the Middle East in hopes of writing an exposé about a secret military program to train soldiers with paranormal abilities. As the movie itself tells us, “more of this is true than you would believe.”

Clooney gives us another of his quirky, paranoid performances. Think O Brother, Where Art Thou? It’s one of the two types of roles he’s perfected, the ultra suave cynic being the other. He knows how to work us with excellent comic timing. Most of the movie’s best moments are his. The rest belong to Jeff Bridges who lets us know what The Dude from The Big Lebowski would be like as a soldier.

It wants to be a great oddball comedy. It’s definitely oddball but not consistently funny enough to keep us from noticing just how silly all this is, even though we’re not laughing. Ewan McGregor turns rather bland work. Part of the problem is he shares so much screentime with Clooney he never gets a chance to shine despite the movie being about his character. Finally, Kevin Spacey is underused as our villain if, for no other reason than it’s Kevin Spacey. Forgive me, I’m all about some Spacey.

It’s a premise with loads of potential that just doesn’t quite hit the mark. Unfortunately, even if it had it still may have been too strange for some.

MY SCORE: 5.5/10


  1. I actually liked this movie a lot more than you did, but I agree that some cast members were egregiously underused. It's been a while since I saw it and I don't even remember why I liked it. I think I just really dug the vibe of this film, even if the potential wasn't fully exploited.

    1. Lots of people liked it more than I. It just never quite came together for me.