From the writer and director of "The Hangover" and "Old School", "War Dogs" is a buddy crime comedy-drama starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller. Todd Phillips' version of "The Wolf of Wall Street" tells the slightly true story of two young friends who become arms dealers, start taking advantage of the government and make a great deal of money in the process. This film isn't at all perfect and really isn't anything special, but fans of Phillips and the other films mentioned will likely be entertained.

Growing up together in Miami, Efraim Divoreli (Hill) and David Packouz (Teller) were best friends. As they matured into their young adult years, Efraim went to work for his uncle in California and learned in detail about the weapons supply business. Living with his soon to be fiance, working as a massage therapist and struggling with money, David is taken by Efraim's new hobby and agrees to get in business with him when he moves back to Miami. In no time at all, their newly created company, AEY, Inc., is doing great and secures a $300 million contract to arm the Afghan Military, one of their many interational clients. As their business's legality is always a question and with all the suspicious people they deal with, things start to get very real and serious for David and his future, and both he and Efraim must ultimately decide whether to continue or get out of the business.

Efraim and David are able to do what they do because at the time, the system allowed the little guy or smaller businesses to bid on goverment contracts, often through an online site that the film compares to Ebay. AEY, Inc. slowly grows into one of the largest government arms suppliers in the U.S., but they quickly begin to get in over their head when attempting to fill larger gun orders and start to realize who they are really selling to and the impact of their business. At a point in the film, Efraim and David need help finding more firearms, and are approached by Henry Girard, a big player in their business, who is amusingly played by Bradley Cooper in a somewhat of an underused role.

"War Dogs" involves a story you'd never believe was true, but it's actually based on a Rolling Stone article by Guy Lawson in 2011. That being said, the film is heavily fictionalized and dramatized, with some events that didn't really happen. On top of a unique story, the film relies upon the performances of Hill and Teller, and their various antics as they navigate through a dangerous unknown world of arms dealing. Teller is a bit more of a reserved, serious type. On the other hand, Hill comes off as a money hungry, offensive sleaze. The film does feature some of the comedy both actors are known for, but their roles also require quite a bit of drama, to which they both suceed aproprietly.

Viewers laugh at the humor in a film like this without thinking about the implications of arms dealing and the overall indictment of the government and military that this story presents. Much like "The Wolf of Wall Street", "The Big Short" or even something like "Catch Me if You Can", these entrepeneuers found a way to work or use the system to make a name for themselves and gain quite a bit of money in the process, even if it isn't in the purest way. It's unfortunate that people are able to take advantage of the incompetence and inefficiency of the government, but that doesn't mean it's not appealing to hear a story about someone doing it to these lengths once it makes it to the big screen.

"War Dogs" is rated R for sexual references. Running time is 1 hour and 54 minutes.

Rated 3 out of 5 stars / Selig rating = Dollar movie but one that can be watched at home.


The Selig Rating Scale:

FULL PRICE – Excellent movie, well worth the price

MATINEE – Good movie

DOLLAR – OK movie

CABLE – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

FREEBIE – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.

COMMERCIAL TV – Commercials and cutting to the allotted time will not hurt this one.

FORGET IT! – Bad. If you see this one, do yourself a favor and keep it to yourself.

GET YOUR TORCHES – BAD! – Burn the script, the writer, the director and maybe even the actors!

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