The Men Who Stare At Goats (DVD)

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 April, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 April, 2010, 12:00am

Given the list of top actors, and the intriguing, based-on-real-events story, The Men Who Stare At Goats could have been a classic black comedy. But it needed more effort to avoid the patchy plot and weak character development.

Whiny journalist Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) is in Iraq to prove his manliness. But when he meets psychic soldier Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), he learns of a secret military unit that uses mind powers to fight. The unit's founder, Bill (Jeff Bridges), has gone missing, and the pair sets out to find him.

Director Grant Heslov wanted to combine comedy, satire, anti-war sentiment and action using fast-paced, eccentric editing. But he tries too hard to impress. The result is confusing.

But between humour and average performances by the stars, there is hardly any time for the satirical messages or thrilling action sequences.

There are good points: non-stop witty, memorable lines; hilarious physical comedy, and Bridges' instantly likeable hippie, not to mention the surreal idea of psychic soldiers.

This is another case of a potentially great movie missing the mark, leaving viewers with a lot of quotable lines and a sadly hollow feeling.