What is it with George Clooney! How can one actor star in so many box office bombs and still be Hollywood's darling? Since 2003 this "leading man" has starred in such failures as "Intolerable Cruelty," "Syriana," "The Good German," "Leatherheads" and "Burn After Reading." The only major hit he has had in his career is the "Ocean's Eleven" series, Yet Hollywood keeps putting his name at the head of the list of desirable actors.
In his latest film "The Men Who Stare At Goats" he once again puts himself front and center in a lifeless, lethargic movie. He plays Lyn Cassady, a so-called psychic or new age soldier. He allegedly can kill goats with a single stare, control his opponents with his state of mind, and do other wonderful things.
This all comes to light when Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor), a reporter, learns of an organization within the military that is trying new ways of warfare. Cassady is supposed to be the current best of the bunch. His claim to fame is that he was mentored by the ultimate new age guru Bill Django (Jeff Bridges).
Through a series of misadventures Wilton ends up in Iraq with Cassady who is on a mission of sorts. Every situation in which they are involved causes Bob's impression of Cassady's abilities to rise or fall. At times his story seems credible and at others it sounds completely ridiculous. This is also how the movie comes off.
The film is played for comical effect but never is totally humorous. There are a few chuckles here and there but the story (which is supposedly based on true events) is so stupid it turns the audience off.
Clooney never captures the sincerity or the believability of his character. Maybe the part is just poorly written but Clooney does nothing to enhance the role. Bridges is back playing a drugged out guy stuck in the high flying sixties or seventies. It is a throwback to his role as "The Dude" in "The Big Lebowski" but not as enjoyable.
McGregor is really the star of the film but he looks totally lost in his role. He seems to be unable to figure out what is going on and so the audience doesn't comprehend it all either. It is McGregor's worst performance in years.
The film is rated R for profanity, violence and brief nudity.
There will certainly be a hard core of fans who will love this Clooney tune, but most will see it as another flop for the actor. It isn't funny; it isn't enlightening; it isn't dramatic; it is just a mess. This film highlights the loony in Clooney and the Ewww in Ewan.
I scored "The Men Who Stare At Goats" a psychic 3 out of 10.
Jackie K. Cooper