The Men Who Stare at Goats

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. This movie has a strong cast with George Clooney, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey and Ewin McGregor. It seems a bit odd, but they pull it off… for the most part.

6 out of 10

This movie has a real levity about it. Of course, when you’re dealing with soldiers who use mind powers instead of guns, you kind of have to.

The film has a great cast, but the actors seem to be bursting with a cheeky grin inside as if they know how funny they are. You get a sense that they are totally in love with themselves and it’s a little off-putting. Spacey is particularly enjoyable, though, as an absolute jerk. He’s the psychic no one likes because he does things like spoil a wedding by telling the the bride and groom he’s sorry it doesn’t work out.

This film plays with the idea that the army funded a psychic branch that used telepathy, telekinesis and other mind powers in the hopes of creating a new super warrior. Bridges plays Bill Django, a hippy general in charge of this new brigade who smokes dope, drops acid and leads them in meditation and Native American rituals. Clooney plays Lyn Cassady, his protege, who years later is reunited with him while on a crazy adventure with a reporter he meets outside of Iraq, played by McGregor in a straight-man role.

The film largely follows McGregor and Clooney on this Middle Eastern adventure, with Bridges and Spacey shining in the flashbacks that tell the back story of the New World Army and all the crazy nonsense that goes along with it.

The film moves smoothly between the adventure and the back story, but falls incredibly flat and gets a little too silly at the end when all the characters meet. With a stronger ending, this movie could have easily been an 8. I hate seeing a great concept and story go to waste.

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