Men Who Stare At Goats, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +1

Content: -4

George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, Jeff Bridges. Wartime comedy. Written by Peter Straughan. Directed by Grant Heslov.

FILM SYNOPSIS: While in search of a big story, a reporter meets Lyn Cassady, a shadowy figure who claims to be part of an experimental U.S. military unit. According to Cassady, the New Earth Army is changing the way wars are fought. A legion of "Warrior Monks" with unparalleled psychic powers can read the enemy's thoughts, pass through solid walls, and even kill a goat simply by staring at it.

Before you know it, our intrepid journalist finds himself involved with a clandestine special forces unit seeking a new way to do battle. Everything is tried to best the enemy, including, for some reason, the ingesting of LSD by our own soldiers. A New Earth Army is being formed by military leaders who have gone, well, a little funny in the head.

PREVIEW REVIEW: I found the humor witty, though cynical and somewhat subversive, in the manner of Catch 22 and M*A*S*H*. At first I thought the story’s satire was going in the direction of Dr. Strangelove, but as the film progressed, the question arose, “What’s the purpose?” By film’s end, the question remained and the humor became less effective. (I hate it when I’m more confused than the characters – and these characters are a confused bunch.)

Were the filmmakers attempting a swipe at military special forces, or perhaps knocking attempted experimental battle tactics? I give up. It simply was not clear. Perhaps it’s in code. “Republicans are bad, worship Obama.” Just kidding, Mr. Clooney.

Dr. Strangelove was anti-war and portrayed our political leaders as self-centered buffoons. Well, I don’t always agree with that assessment, though I’ll admit, lately political leaders are taking on the same qualities as Warner Bros. cartoon figures. But while that film took a stance that expressed its filmmaker’s social objectives, leaving little wiggle room for conservative perspectives, Strangelove was hysterical and presented views that justly deserved respectful attention. Clooney’s Goats is more profane and less clear in its objective. It seemed a muddled mess, as if it weren’t just the film’s protagonists who were ingesting LSD.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Overture Films

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: I lost count of the obscenities, the s- and f-words abound.

Profanity: I caught one profane use of God’s name, plus several utterances of Christ’s in a profane manner.

Violence: Much of the story takes place in a wartime theater, where people are either shot or blown up. Blood: Not much blood.

Sex: One implied sexual situation, played off camera.

Nudity: Brief nudity, with people in a hot tub; non-sexual nudity as we see a soldier go off his nut and walk across the parade ground nude and firing his handgun.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Lots of drinking and experimental us of LSD and other substances.

Other: Though amusing, the material becomes progressively darker in tone.

Running Time: 93 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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