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The Men Who Stare At Goats: Loopy and lightweight 

THE MEN WHO STARE AT GOATS (***) — Loopy enough to stand out from the homogenized pack but not bold enough to truly go the distance, this eccentric satire (inspired by Jon Ronson's nonfiction book of the same name) proves to be a modestly pleasing piffle in which journalist Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor, sincere but straightjacketed by an undemanding role) searches for a great story on the outskirts of the Iraq war and finds one in Lyn Cassady (George Clooney). Cassady claims to be a former super-soldier, a military man who had been trained in the ways of the paranormal in order to use psychic abilities to combat the enemy. Cassady and his fellow recruits flourished under the tutelage of Vietnam War vet Bill Django (Jeff Bridges), but once a devious soldier named Larry Hooper (Kevin Spacey) entered the picture, everything went to hell. Now many years later, Cassady insists to Wilton that he's on a covert mission, and he drags the inquisitive yet uncomprehending reporter along with him. Clooney and Bridges are both adept at giving off-kilter performances (let's not forget that they've both headlined quirky Coen comedies), and they achieve the proper buzz in a picture that, until a protracted finale, gets high off the fumes of its own freewheeling inclinations.

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