Monday, November 16, 2009

Staring at farm animals

The Men Who Stare at Goats was a movie that had all the right elements for me to like.  One actor I'm a pretty big fan of (George Clooney), an actor I'm a HUGE fan of (Ewan McGregor), a supporting cast with actors I like (Kevin Spacey and Jeff Bridges) and Stephen Root.  Add to that a teaser trailer and preview that I totally liked ( and I was not going to miss this movie.  And I was not disappointed.

The story of a reporter trying to prove himself to his ex-wife and an ex-soldier's quest for personal redemption was certainly quirky.  And like a lot of quirky movies, I can see where this movie may not "click" with everybody.  But I think it has fairly high appeal.  I saw this movie on a date, and we both laughed throughout the movie.  The humor is blatent at times and subtle at times - just the way I like it - and includes occasional scenes of ridiculousness that are sure to draw a laugh.  One highlight is two security companies in Iraq engaging in small arms combat...with each other.  Nothing wrong with a little social commentary.

Ewan McGregor voices over a large portion of the movie, narrating the story.  I'm not a huge fan of this method, but it fit the feel of the movie.  His role as the reporter that stumbles on a psychic soldier program is played to perfection, with plenty of enthusiasm.  George Clooney didn't "wow" me as much as I expected as a former soldier, his role involved quite a bit of doing nothing.  Don't miss him dressed as a hippy soldier though - the long hair and sideburns were hilarious.  And Jeff Bridges was simply fantastic as the mastermind of the psychic soldier program.

As is becoming all too normal, my major complaint is that the preview gives away two of the funniest moments of the movie.  This is a trend I think REALLY needs to stop.  I know that it can be hard to sell a movie without using top scenes, but I always feel a little ripped off when the movie spends 10 minutes setting up a scene that I've already seen 20 times in previews.  And if you figure out the 10 minutes of build up is going to end with that already spoiled punchline, it can make that 10 minutes very boring.  I'd even go so far as to say that in some movies it can interrupt the flow, which is an unfair thing to do to a good movie.  The best compliment I can give this particular movie is that even with some top moments spoiled in advance, I still laughed at the spectacular execution of those moments.

Overall I liked this movie.  I went in expecting a funny and well-acted movie and that's exactly what I got.  I laughed and walked away smiling, and that's worth my ten bucks.