Movie Review: War Dogs

Spoilers: Very light.

Quick Rating: 7.5/10

See it? Yes.

 

Here’s why:

I’ll start where a movie starts, the screenplay. For a movie like this, the writer(s) had the relatively unique challenge of properly covering the factual events on which the story is based, while keeping us chuckling for 100 some odd minutes.

Although you may not walk out with a complete understanding of “The Afghani Deal,” – the massive arms contract the 20-something best friends David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli snaked their way into landing – nor will you be icing your stomach from nonstop laughter, you’ll get just enough of both to make this one worth seeing.

The dialogue wasn’t impeccable, but it was pretty strong. There were plenty of funny conversations – some great, some a bit repetitive and simple. Never bad enough to take you out of it, but realistically, never good enough to blow your mind.

 

I think it’s safe to say the acting did more to keep this one funny than the script did.

 

Perfect for the task at hand, Miles Teller became just who we wanted him to be, an effortlessly lovable down-and-out stoner who needs to make a change before he nosedives into hopeless poverty.

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Miles Teller

He’s no bumbling idiot though, he keeps the viewer in the loop by providing us with solidly entertaining and well-delivered voiceover narration that opens and extends throughout the film. The guy has good range, and that comes out in War Dogs, but for the most part, he sticks to his bread and butter. He doesn’t make you piss your pants and he doesn’t make you cry but for some reason you just want to love him. Hats off to the 29 year old for managing to keep the girls blushing while keeping the guys from hating him for it.

 

The way it starts, you may expect him to be single but oh how wrong you’d be. He comes home to the most obnoxiously beautiful, cute and sexy girlfriend you’ll see all year. I’m terribly sorry, but I just can’t describe her without getting crude, crass and in all likelihood, downright sexist. I’ll put it this way. Not since Margot Robbie as Mrs. Jordan Belfort have I legitimately considered running to the theater’s bathroom to snap one off so I could get back to focusing on the plot. She comes on screen, and half the men in the audience just about throw up from heat exhaustion by proximity. Then, she opens her mouth. REALLY? A thick, unrelentingly sexy Cuban accent? Come on. Overkill. Her hotness is damn near offensive. As you can imagine, her role was to stand there and look pretty, but she actually did quite a bit more than that. She really wasn’t half bad. Gorgeous, foreign and can act. Gentlemen, don’t bring your girlfriends to War Dogs unless you’re ready for that you-better-not-be-pitching-a-tent-right-now scowl every time our leading lady is on screen.

Ana De Armas boys.

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Ana De Armas

Remember the name. If not because she’s about to be one of Hollywood’s go-to smokeshows, then at least so you’ll know how to greet her in your next wet dream.

On to Jonah Hill, (shocker) the definite best part of this movie. I could watch that guy do Sudoku. I could watch him watch paint dry. Hell, I truly believe I could watch him sweat through a shit for an hour and forty-five and walk out raving. Oh and by the way, I bet that’s about how long it’s taking him these days. This is the fattest he’s ever been. By far. Think Superbad and tack on easily thirty or forty lb’s to that 5 foot 7 frame. It wasn’t for the role either; the real Efraim Diveroli is ten pounds overweight, max.

 

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Jonah Hill

I know we all love a fat Jonah Hill, and there very well may be a one-to-one correlation between his weight and the volume of our laughter. But if you really love Jonah like I do, you’re gonna be a bit concerned when you see him. But dangerously obese or not, he is outstanding. We get a nice little blend of the aforementioned Superbad Seth and as you can imagine, plenty of diamond Donny Azoff. He fires up countless joints, sniffs up easily half a kilo and shamelessly hits on women with exclusively grotesque pickup lines. He’s hilarious, devious, gotti and money hungry. Okay, maybe a little too much Wall Street Donnie, but I’m going to blame the writers for that one. It’s tough to avoid given the characters’ similarities, but seriously, a few scenes may as well have been simply copy-and-pasted from Scorcese’s 2013 gem. You know what you’re getting into when you hire Jonah hill to basically play a character he’s already crushed in a known smash-hit, make a stronger effort to separate the two.

All in all, War Dogs is a based on a fascinating story, and the film is a fun, accurate way of telling it. It’s unexpectedly good where you’d be fine with it being bad. Surprisingly cool, creative shots, clever, sound editing and a nice little incorporation of known facial hair and eye color savant Bradley Cooper. The emerging genre of quasi-serious action comedies is a tough beast to tame and aside from some cheesy repetition and a healthy dose of clichés, the filmmakers behind War Dogs did a solid job of doing so.

 

 

 

Nick Buccola

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