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WHAT'S NEW AT THE MOVIES?
This buddy/action/adventure/comedy/based on true story movie tells an interesting enough tale. But, oh, if it only had the guts of its no-good heroes.
Todd Phillips (the Hangover movies) has segued nicely enough into more traditional adult fare here, staging the tale of two Jewish boys from Miami who became private gun runners for the American military in Iraq and Afghanistan. Adapted from a Rolling Stone article, the improbable story runs along similar lines to movies like “Wolf of Wall Street” among many others. But that’s ok. Tell it anyway. Just tell it with relish, a point of view that makes it jump off the screen and wrap us up in its unsavory delights. You know, kind of the way “Wolf” did. Or even the way Adam McKay did, jumping from “Anchorman” to “The Big Short”.
As it rolls, War Dogs has its moments. There’s the sunny disappointment of trying to be legit in glitzy Miami. There’s the reunion of the pals, the old terrors of the Yeshiva. There’s that first sale. And there’s the Holy Cow ride our anti heroes take, hand delivering pistols through Iraq’s Triangle of Death. And there’s a decent enough performances from Miles Teller, the sweet guy who says he’s only doing it for the money. But the zeal comes from Jonah Hill, the amoral cog of the wheel, the one whose reward is much more than financial.
Even though we’ve seen shades of this character from Hill before, his fully realized work is searing. If only the rest of the film around him was as willing to risk it all. .