War Dogs Movie Review
Better than expected but different than marketed, War Dogs is an entertaining but slight drama-comedy that works in the moment but has little lasting power.
Starring Miles Teller and Jonah Hill as two young men who become international arms dealers, War Dogs was painted by its marketing team as a comedy about two brash and exuberant guys who get in over their heads, but relish the experience nonetheless. The thing is… the movie isn't a comedy. There are some funny moments and Jonah Hill delivers his normal over-the-top shtick, but War Dogs is not a comedy.
Unfortunately, War Dogs isn't much of a drama, either.
That leaves War Dogs in the unenvious spot of being a decently made, mildly entertaining “something” that isn't particularly strong in any one way. Teller and Hill are both good in their respective roles, but neither performance ranks among their best. The movie is fun, but not that fun. It's serious, but not serious enough to be taken seriously. Exciting? Not really. Funny? No.
Despite its shortcomings, it's hard to call War Dogs a disappointment, or even a waste of time. It operates at a fast pace, director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) keeps things interesting, and there’s nothing dull about what happens on-screen.
War Dogs was never going to be a hilarious comedy or a riveting drama, but it would have benefited from inching closer to one of the two. As is, it doesn't have much lasting power; it's destined to fade into obscurity, a footnote on Teller’s growing resume. Still, it's better than expected--but it's not the movie you'd expect.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.