Movie Review: "Men Who Stare at Goats"

Chances are you've seen the trailer for the new movie, "Men Who Stare at Goats," starring George Clooney and Ewan Mcgregor. But be warned.... the trailer is funnier than the movie.

"The Men Who Stare at Goats" is a quirky comedy that almost works....but not quite. Parts of this loony anti-war satire are funny, and George Clooney is terrific, but the storyline jumps around too much and the film never finds a consistent tone.

The movie is based on the true story of a secret army intelligence group started at the Pentagon in the 1980's. The so called "New Earth Army" trained soldiers to develop their psychic abilities. "We must create warrior monks," says the group's leader (Jeff Bridges), "who can pass through walls and see into the future."

The movie satirizes this crazy idea at the same time as it sees most of its practitioners as heroes. Clooney is Syd Cassady, the best of the bunch. He tells a reporter played by McGregor to try to choke him. "If I choose to choke you, what you going to do?" asks the reporter. "I'm going to interrupt your thought path," Clooney replies.

Poking fun at this new age nonsense starts out as great fun, but the movie soon turns into a muddle partly because 20 years later... a bad guy played by Kevin Spacey takes over the program, turning its peace and love philosophy into murder and hatred.

Spacey forces Clooney's character to violate his principles by killing a goat with his mind, and that launches this New Age warrior on a long path toward self destruction.

The premise of "The Men Who Stare at Goats" has so much potential. But first time director, Grant Heslov, should have skipped the goats.