War Dogs (R)

War Dogs is based on the true story of twenty-something stoners David Packouz and Efraim Diveroli (played by Miles Teller and Jonah Hill), who won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan with absolutely no qualifications to do so.  They have some experience with and knowledge of guns and ammo, but this job is way over their heads.  They learn the business as they go along, and along the way there are a series of pitfalls that they have to work their way around/into or out of in order to successfully complete the contract.

Directed/co-written/produced by Todd Phillips this movie is fun and engaging.  Phillips is credited with directing/co-writing Old School and the Hangover movies, and here we get a dose of his signature humor/adventure.  This team worked well together and struck a good balance of humor and two of the biggest hot-button issue in our country – guns and war.  War Dogs is a bro-movie with money, guns n’ ammo and danger.  Despite the serious subject matter (earning profits off of war) the movie is not particularly violent.  There are quite a few chuckles provided, mostly by Hill’s character, while you get to go on this international escapade with these two kids who give new definition to the phrase, “fake it ‘til you make it.”

David, the more serious of the two, attempts to keep thing grounded and acts as the moral compass of the company. Although the story revolves around both men, it seems much more like the telling of their story from David’s perspective.  Jonah Hill does a great job as Efraim, an obnoxious, fun-loving, greedy, smart, egotistical guy who is looking for every loophole he can find and working every angle to make a buck.  Not only is this strategy for work, it is his strategy for life.  He is a hustler in every sense of the word and it is his ambition, confidence, impulsivity and devious nature that drives their company to great heights.  Both guys are great at thinking on their feet and figuring out Plans B through Z when Plan A, B, C, etc., fall through – and it is fun to watch them figure it out.  If you did not know the main facts of this story to be true and someone told you about it, you probably would be quite skeptical as to whether or not they were pulling your leg, making the film even that much more fun to watch.

War Dogs earned 8.5 out of 10 bloops. It is a funny, fun, entertaining movie that gives you a peek into just how arbitrary, crazy and careless “The Powers that Be” who run this lovely country of ours can be.  This is one of the better summer movies offered this year that I have seen.

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