Reporter Uncovers Top Secret Psychic Unit in Conspiracy Theory Comedy
Have you ever listened in to Coast-to-Coast AM radio, in the middle of the night? It is the nationally-syndicated, radio talk show that often has guests with wild theories about all sorts of paranormal activities.
If you have , and you liked it, or if you’re entertained by absolutely preposterous discussions of ESP and mental telepathy, This movie was made for you. The Men Who Stare at Goats is likely to be absolutely perfect for you – and your crazy friends!
The movie is based on the best selling book of the same name. It was written by Jon Ronson, a British journalist, who claims he discovered a top secret U.S. Army unit of psychics capable of walking through walls and killing animals simply by staring at them. Obviously, that part explains the wacky title of the film.
The film version of this improbable script was directed by Grant Heslov. It was adapted from the book to the screen by scriptwriter Peter Straughan. The movie version is more comedy than investigative journalism.
The cast is stillar, starting with Ewan McGregor as Bob Wilton, a depressed reporter whose wife (Rebecca Mader) dumped him for his boss (Todd La Tourrette). To get over the loss, he is desperate to find the meaning of life, so he does to the Middle East to cover the war. While there, Bob stumbles into a big story, when he encounters Lyn Cassady (George Clooney).
Cassady reveals via both demonstrations and a series of vivid flashbacks that he is a member of the New Earth Army. This is a motley crew of metaphysical monks first created by Vietnam vet Bill Django (Jeff Bridges) as a force for peace, not war.
Over the course of the ensuing improbable adventure, Lyn explains the powers they attempted to harness. Examples are communicating telepathically with submarines, seeing into the future, optimal trajectory, phasing, cloud bursting and psychic projection.
Bob is impressed, despite the fact that not everything that Lyn shows him actually works. The varying degrees of success, don’t confront Bob, even though Lyn is better at predicting the flip of a coin, than subduing the enemy with his mind after they are both kidnapped by terrorists.
The Men Who Stare at Goats is a one-trick pony, or rather one-trick goat. The whole thing relies heavily on a slight variation of a running theme, and it gets stale fast.
The whole film is about a group of completely delusional wackjobs who are funded and let loose by the U.S. government on the remote chance that they might actually be able to do what they say they can.
The only problem is that the audience needs to be conned into laughing at different versions of the same joke, over and over. It doesn’t matter whether the wannabe psychics are trying to bend a spoon, walk through a wall, drive blindfolded or something else, they mostly fail.
This flawed flick is strictly for those who are easily pleased or paranoid conspiracy theorists.
Fair (1 star)
Rated R for profanity, drug use and brief nudity.
Running time: 93 minutes
Studio: Overture Films
This film made it into Kam’s Kapsules November 6, 2009.
To purchase a copy of the book the movie is based on, visit:
Watch the trailer for The Men Who Stare at Goats: