George Clooney as a psychic spy. Jeff Bridges as a hippy soldier. Goats. This all sounds entertaining, but it's just not as much fun as it should be. It's a shame, because the premise is a good one. A lonely journalist starts investigating the government's more 'free-thinking' military operations - running through walls, invisibility, staring at animals until they die - and ends up traipsing through the desert with a retired spy on a secret mission. Flashbacks show how these ideas came about, in sequences that are 'sort of true'. This is where the real action is, in crazy generals handing out daffodils and teaching meditation through dance. It's always disappointing to see the story go back to the desert, where, as you can imagine, not much happens. Eventually the past catches up, but fails to live up to its promise. It's the sort of film where you'll already have seen the best bits in the trailer. There's still a few nice moments though. George Clooney's character comments that after trying to develop invisibility for a while they 'changed the goal to the idea of not being seen', 'Like camouflage?', 'No, not like camoflage'.
As a comedy it's not that funny and as political satire it's not that edgy. It runs a middleground, not doing either particularly well but working in parts. It could have done with a bit more of a creative spark, a bit more imagination. They didn't try to go too far outside the lines, it's very neat and tidy and doesn't push any boundaries. It's almost subversive in that it defies expectation, like it must have been really hard to make such an interesting subject so formulaic. Not bad, but just watch the trailer if you want a laugh.