The Men Who Stare at Goats | Chicago Reader

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Inspired by Jon Ronson's nonfiction book, this genial but ultimately plodding farce looks at the bizarre outer reaches of the U.S. army's psychological operations. A reporter covering the Iraq war (Ewan McGregor) meets a mysterious army veteran (George Clooney) who claims he was once involved in a secret program to create a squad of "warrior monks" who could carry out paranormal attacks against America's enemies. Flashbacks detail the program's genesis under a beatific Zen master (Jeff Bridges doing his Big Lebowski routine), and the present-tense plot eventually reveals how the idea has been revived and twisted under one of his meaner, lesser students (Kevin Spacey). Clooney and Bridges model an assortment of wigs and facial hair as they labor to put across their outsize characters; at its best the movie recalls a subpar episode of M*A*S*H. Grant Heslov (Good Night, and Good Luck) directed a script by Peter Straughan (How to Lose Friends & Alienate People). R, 95 min.
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Director: Grant Heslov
Writer: Jon Ronson and Peter Straughan
Producer: George Clooney and Grant Heslov and Paul Lister
Cast: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey, Stephen Root, Robert Patrick, Stephen Lang, Rebecca Mader, Glenn Morshower and Matt Newton

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