Director: Todd Phillips
Based on Guy Lawson’s novel Guys and the Dudes, War Dogs was remade for the screen as an American comedy-drama directed by Todd Phillips. Starring the hilarious Jonah Hill as Efraim Diveroli (loaded arms dealer and perhaps the world’s biggest douche), and baby faced Miles Teller as Efraim’s accomplice, David Packouz, the film follows the pair on their journey as they “hustle their way to the American dream.”
David, a poor and washed-up masseur who has recently discovered that his partner is “knocked-up,” needs to find cash quickly. After spending his life savings on a failed plan to sell high thread count sheets to unsuspecting old folks’ homes, he is left with no plan and a baby on the way. Enter Efraim, a seemingly well-to-do high school friend who represents his fortune through copious amounts of bling and self-tan. Running into each other at a mutual friend’s funeral, Efraim takes David under his wing and gives him a job at his own company AEY, which questionably fills orders for arms placed by the US government due to the ongoing war in Iraq. Their job is to find small orders that larger arms contractors do not bother with and place bids on them. After making a fortune from these “small” deals, David and Efraim close in on the deal of a lifetime—a $300 million US Government contract to supply the US armed forces with millions of bullets. Scrambling to fill the order and place their bet, the pair enlist the help of shady and bizarre arms dealer Henry Girad (played by Bradley Cooper) who seemingly sticks them over and causes the breakup of the now billion dollar company, AEY. What follows is the pair’s attempt to get themselves out of the sh*t.
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War Dogs is probably the most bizarre cinema representation of America’s involvement with the war in Iraq I’ve seen to date. However the film fulfils its purpose as a funny and cleverly constructed Hollywood blockbuster. Hill’s character is hilarious and is only rivalled by Teller’s level-headed performance. I even found War Dogs to be quite informative about the undercover arms dealings that are conducted by non-US Government contractors.
However despite all the film’s “funny” moments and a pretty good performance by both Hill and Teller, I felt that the climax of the film never quite got there for me. The later half was spent resolving conflicts that I just didn’t really care about. Efraim, although funny, was not a very relatable character and his actions (and reactions to problems) were pretty ridiculous (think firing a machine gun in a LA ghetto because he couldn’t buy weed). Maybe it just wasn’t my type of humour. After all, it is a movie—why shouldn’t characters be able to shoot-up local suburbs in the name of humour? It’s America right?
An accurate summary of War Dogs is: good, but not excellent. Despite this, I would still recommend the film for an easy watch on a lazy weekend.