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The Men Who Stare At Goats Movie Poster

The Men Who Stare At Goats: Movie Review

Genre: Comedy
Rated: R
Directed by:
Grant Heslov
Starring: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Kevin Spacey, and Jeff Bridges
Released by: Overture Films

In Short: George Clooney shines in this silly satire of the U.S. Army's dalliance with the paranormal.

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Clooney's Silly Satire Is a Fun, Farcical Ride

"The Men Who Stare at Goats" is such a goofy movie, you'll be hard-pressed to believe that any of it is based in reality. Nevertheless, the fundamental facts are true. The United States government really did have a Special Forces unit formed in the 1980s that attempted to tap into the paranormal powers of some of their soldiers in order to exploit potential military applications.

In this smart satire directed by Grant Heslov, George Clooney stars as Lyn Cassady, a burnt-out ex-Army psychic warrior. He entices a slightly naïve journalist (Ewan McGregor) to follow him from Kuwait into war-torn Iraq on a "secret mission," and the silliness ensues. As the two bumble their way across the desert landscape, Cassady reveals the story of that special Army unit, in a series of very funny flashbacks that make serious fun of the U. S. military and the lengths it will go to in order to keep an edge against its enemies.

The Men Who Stare at Goats - Clooney and McGregor The Men Who Stare At Goats - Clooney and Goat

Jeff Bridges is priceless as the leader of the U. S. Army's "First Earth Battalion," a soldier who finds his inner paranormal powers and then proceeds to teach others how to tap in, doing that in a sanctioned, funded program that falls way outside the norm. Kevin Spacey joins the madness, too, as a spoon-bending enlisted man whose jealous nature belies his gift.

But it is Clooney and McGregor who carry the weight of "The Men Who Stare at Goats," and they pull it off with panache. Clooney is at his best as a guy who has lost everything, yet is determined to regain his earlier glory as the best psychic the Army ever produced, and McGregor paces him every step of the way, going from skeptic to believer as the incredible events unfold before his eyes.

And yes, there are goats. And yes, they stare at them in an attempt to kill them with their minds. And yes, that really happened. This fact alone makes the rest of the absurdity that is "The Men Who Stare at Goats" a fun, farcical ride.

Reviewed by Jenny Peters

Updated:(02/22/10 AR)

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