Film Review: The Men Who Stare At Goats (2009)

By Alex Lagerwey. Viewed: 13/03/10 

Viewing this trailer, it’s easy to see why I was pumped for this film. The premise seems hilarious, the cast all-star, the soundtrack genius not to mention my one weakness – four-legged animals, this time of the goat persuasion. 

Allow me to show you the trailer: 


The trailer lets you think it will be non-stop laughs and in a word: awesome-sauce. But my dear reader, it is so untrue. 

The biggest let down of the film is the wasted potential. With a cast including George Clooney (whose recent turn in Jason Reitman’s Up In The Air was so polished and penises whereas here he is flat and uninspired), Ewan McGregor (in Polanski’s latest The Ghost Writer which is sure to set chins wagging), Jeff Bridges (recent recipient of Best Actor gong at the Oscars, yet if you were to see him in this you’d wonder why) and Kevin Spacey (who pretty much just plays Kevin Spacey…again) you would think SOMEONE would take the reins and lead the film towards some sort of merriment, but all fail to do so. 

The intriguing premise of this film, psychic ‘Jedi’ soldiers, trained by a fruity Jeff Bridges to become his very own Earth Army. Yet novice director Grant Heslov never seems to get the film off the ground. The most amusing part of the film are the flashbacks to the unorthodox training sessions yet the majority of screen time is taken up by a quasi-‘buddy’-road-trip which is both unsuccessful and downright boring. 

Goat acting the pants off Clooney


The journeys of all the leading characters seem to come to a dead-end, with their motivation being unclear and confusing and the conclusion being wholly unsatisfying. If the film is trying to be ironic and uplifting – which the soundtrack seems to suggest – it merely makes you scratch your head and wish the sloppy screenwriting could have had a thorough edit. I went into this film wanting to love it and even the begining, which was very Cohen Brothers-esque had me hooked, but ultimately the film never found its feet and the jokes weren’t firing like they ought to. 

For those who can’t resist a good man fest on screen, this film has it in abundance. But what they are doing cuts me deep…especially because they aren’t doing much. 

Fail Goat
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