A sly comedy of errors, The Men Who Stare at Goats may be a movie that involves war, but it’s not a war movie.
It sneaks a sideways glance at a top-secret US military division that spent much of the ‘70s training a troupe of psychic ‘super-soldiers’. And yes, that involved staring at goats. George Clooney is the ex-military soldier tailed on a mysterious mission by reporter Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor), who wants to write a story on the Iraq war to prove to his wife that he’s not a waste of space.
Tying in real-life footage of Iraq combat and George Bush, Goats initially appears to be digging at the ribs of the Bush administration. But its jibes quickly turn more farcical than barbed. Erring on just the right side of silliness, its combination of slapstick and off-the-cuff sitcom mostly hits the right marks.
Anticipation: Clooney, McGregor, Bridges, Spacey and one heck of a title. 4
Enjoyment: Clooney again proves himself a master of comedy timing, shame the script isn’t sharper. 3
In Retrospect: Not quite as viciously funny as Burn After Reading, but a decent desert-set romp. 3