A reporter in Iraq might just have the story of a lifetime when he meets Lyn Cassady, a guy who claims to be a former member of the U.S. Army's New Earth Army, a unit that employs paranormal powers in their missions.
A reporter, trying to lose himself in the romance of war after his marriage fails, gets more than he bargains for when he meets a special forces agent who reveals the existence of a secret, psychic military unit whose goal is to end war as we know it. The founder of the unit has gone missing and the trail leads to another psychic soldier who has distorted the mission to serve his own ends. Written by
Watching Grant Heslov's "The Men Who Stare at Goats" was tantamount to staring at a stick of dynamite - for 93 minutes - that never exploded. All the critical mass of a quirky, eccentric comedy (i.e., an able cast, a political pseudo-relevance) seemed to be undercut by clunky writing, tacky 'Watch people fall down, get run over, and laugh' stunts, and a painfully disjointed plot which can barely be deemed a plot at all. Rather, the movie featured more of a direction: an ill-defined, ill-conceived mission toward which two characters (Clooney's Lyn Cassady and McGregor's Bob Wilton) floated. The problem with the loose plot development, in this case, is that Clooney's chemistry with McGregor feels forced and their connection in the film equally contrived. The film was peppered with flashback (to which Bridges and Spacey owe the majority of their on-screen time) which jettisoned any chance the viewer had with feeling an investment toward the central story or its characters. In fact, the film stumbles from character to character so often that the viewer is caught juggling them under the central story arc -- and we never really care about most of them in the first place.
"The Men Who Stare at Goats" allows for some laughs and some admirable situational ironies. But don't expect the brilliance and subtlety of "The Big Lebowski" or "American Beauty."
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