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The Force Is Not Strong Here

8 Nov

Sometimes, when you set out to make a movie that’s wacky funny, you end up instead with something that’s strange and unfunny. Such is the case with The Men Who Stare at Goats, one of those classic misfires that has almost no redeeming qualities. Starring George Clooney (clearly doing a solid for his friend and producing partner, Grant Heslov, who makes his directorial debut here), Men Who Stare is about a reporter (Ewan McGregor) who tries to impress his wife by going to Iraq. There (or rather, in Kuwait), he meets Clooney’s character, a military man who may or may not be gifted with special psychic powers, who may or may not be retired, and who may or may not still be a part of a top secret military unit that specializes in nonviolent action (such as Jedi mind tricks performed on goats). The film is only sporadically funny, the tone just isn’t right, and Clooney, sadly, seems totally miscast. Just about the only thing worth mentioning positively is Jeff Bridges, who plays the hippie-like leader of the group and seems perfectly cast in his role. Otherwise, Men Who Stare is just weird and unnecessary, and I’m giving it a D.

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