By: Ashley Ricks
The Men Who Stare at Goats was supposed to be, in my book, a hysterical comedy accompanied by a great underlying story. Grant Heslov directed the movie along with George Clooney, and expectations were high. Unfortunately, the movie didn’t deliver.
This movie begins with a journalist, Bob Wilton, played by the fabulous Ewan McGregor, covering what seems like a nonsense story of a man who claims to have psychic powers. However, the story seems to legitimatize itself when Wilton ironically meets Lyn Cassady (the handsome George Clooney), a former member of the “psychic” division of the army, while trying to cross the Kuwait border into Iraq. Diverting from his original plan to cover the war, Wilton decides to follow Cassady on his most recent mission, not truly knowing where they are going.
In a flashback to 1972-era Vietnam, we find out how the New Earth Army is started. Bill Django (Jeff Bridges) is wounded in battle and decides to investigate his idea of bringing peace around the world with the mind. Basically, this unit is founded by a loopy hippie who has a few extra chemicals running through his blood stream. He begins training this special unit by letting them dance freely and play with flowers. Cassady is immediately recognized as the most promising “remote viewer” of the unit.
Returning to 2003, the time in which the movie is set, viewers are taken through a series of adventures and challenges faced by Wilton and Cassady, packed with a few laughable moments. Since most of the comedic punch lines were put in the trailer, movie-goers are misled to believe that the movie is filled with stomach-aching hilarious moments.
Lyn Cassady finally finds the place he felt he was led to after wrecking a car, being kidnapped, and blowing a second car up. Turns out, his destiny takes him to a new base run by his old arch enemy of the unit Larry Hooper, played by Kevin Spacey. Django works his way back into the story by helping with this new base, although he isn’t happy with it. When Cassady and Wilton show up Django sees hope. However, Cassady begins to lose it. He believes the downfall of the New Earth Army was his fault because he killed a goat – with his mind by the way – and killing, obviously, isn’t peaceful like the way of the hippie army. In attempt to distract the newly formed unit, Django and Wilton team up and slip a few extra ingredients into the army’s breakfast. With everyone loopy, they are able to free the goats and captives to live their own peaceful lives. As I was still struggling and waiting to see the point of the drawn out movie, the credits began to role.
This random and chaotic film is based on Jon Ronson’s non-fiction book which is, in turn, based on a true story.
After much thought I have decided to give this movie two stars. My reasoning? One for George Clooney, I mean who doesn’t like to look at him? I give another star for Ewan McGregor, simply because I can’t get the Moulin Rouge version of him out of my head. I was contemplating giving another for the quick and few laughs I got out of the movie, however, I quickly redacted it remembering the terrible moustache style that seemed to be a nasty trend in the movie. This movie was definitely not worth the eight dollars I paid to see it.