(R for profanity, drug content, brief nudity): At last, finally, a made for adults cockeyed, nutty military satire that not quite, but almost, tops the celebrated "Catch 22," with a more serious touch of the other Clooney Gulf War film, "Three Kings."
When the film opens with the statement, "More of this is true than you would believe," (augmented in the press by men publicly admitting to having been part of the real life military group), we are then treated to a totally acerbic, satirical rendition of the facts and the original cast of participants in one of the most astounding programs in military history.
Narrated in flashbacks by an Ann Arbor reporter (Ewan McGregor), recently left behind by his wife, now anxious to to prove his worth by reporting on the second Iraq War, our protagonist is dragged by an original member of a secret government warrior team into a top secret program of Jedi Warriors (as an in joke, one of McGregor's questions is, straight-faced, "What's a Jedi Warrior?") - a team that operates with psychological techniques as their weapons, one of which is a stare that - you guess it - knocks out goats.
Using gobbledygook like "psychic disincentives" and "subliminal messagony" in dead seriousness, the heads of the various teams explain that it's possible to fight wars with "psychic aesthetics" rather than bullets. Of course, now & then bullets help a little. Peter Straughan's adaptation of Jon Ronson's tongue-thickly-in-cheek book, stems in great part from the pattern of verbal education, then demonstration, which rarely works. Director Grant Heslov makes the most of it - people banging into walls instead of flying through them, following "gut reaction" that leads directly into disaster, etc. Even when the film gets serious toward the end, Heslov finds a way to weave it into a hidden message of sorts, about war in general and this one in particular.
The entire cast, from McGregor (who plays it straight most of the time) to the trained specialists including a pony-tailed Jeff Bridges, dead-panned Kevin Spacey, and, especially, George Clooney, who acts as Virgil to McGreagor's Dante.
The entire 95-minutes are so loaded with satirical sound & fury, it doesn't matter that, actually, nothing has happened. Almost. (Grade: B+)