George Clooney and Jeff Bridges star in this goofy comedy about a battalion of psychic soldiers perfecting their craft.
It probably sounded funny on paper, and yes, onscreen, there are a few moments of deadpan wackiness. But "The Men Who Stare at Goats," starring George Clooney, mostly comes across as a botched cross between "Dr. Strangelove" and "Three Kings" (which also starred Clooney, to much better effect). It's loosely based on a nonfiction book by British journalist Jon Ronson about the US military's top-secret plan to create a battalion of psychic soldiers in the wake of Vietnam. Jeff Bridges plays the Big Lebowski-ish ponytailed Bill Django, who founds the New Earth Army and counsels his cadre, among them Clooney's stone-faced Lyn Cassady, on the proper way to run invisibly through walls and kills goats by staring at them. Kevin Spacey, as another of the New Earthers, lives up to his surname. Ewan McGregor plays the Ronson-like journalist, which mostly consists of double takes. By bringing the story into Iraq, Grant Heslov courts tastelessness. Gooniness and Gitmo don't mix. Grade: C+ (Rated R for language, some drug content, and brief nudity.)