You play your cards right, goat … and it’s a life of luxury at my Italian villa.

Theatrical Release Date: 11/06/2009
Director: Grant Heslov
Cast: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Lang, Robert Patrick, Waleed Zuaiter, Stephen Root, Glenn Morshower, Nick Offerman

Some of you out there may know about government and military experiments into developing psychic abilities. Maybe you even know what I’m going to write next? … … … No? Well, let’s just move on then to “The Men Who Stare at Goats”.

The film stars George Clooney as a psychic soldier who ends up traveling with a reporter (Ewan McGregor) in search of story. Along the way, we discover how Clooney and his squad were formed and get introduced to a number of oddball characters, played by the likes of Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey and Stephen Root to name a few.

However, while the premise and cast are spot on, the film lacks momentum. Once the characters have been established, it’s as if the story decides to go on walkabout. There is a distinct plot and everything but it all felt very aimless for about the last half of the film and I spent more time shifting in my seat than feeling interested in what happened next.

That’s not to say there isn’t any fun to be had. The irony of calling these super soldiers “Jedi warriors” and casting Ewan McGregor wasn’t lost on me. Also, the actors obviously enjoyed being able to play characters that were so over the top and their enthusiasm is infectious. Stephen Root and Stephen Lang were very underused, but they steal each scene they’re in and kept me wanting more from the pair.

But as much as the characters try to keep the film going, my interest waned over the last half and I was none too sad to see the credits come up. The script and direction needed to be more dynamic and engaging, leaving me with little more to say about the film than “ho” and “hum”, as evident by the brevity of the review.

Sadly, while there were plenty of great characters, this is an example of the whole not being the sum of its parts. “The Men Who Stare at Goats” starts off fine but settles into passive enjoyment lacking the energy to elevate it past a 2.5 out of 5.