“War Dogs” (Warner Bros.)
By Catholic News Service
Two young men from Miami become arms merchants in a fact-based movie that hovers between raucous comedy and serious expose. Through an initiative designed to let small businesses get a slice of the military-spending pie, a college dropout (Miles Teller) with a wife and daughter to support and his long-lost pal from yeshiva school (Jonah Hill), an alternately obnoxious and charming schemer, get rich by engaging in fraud and circumventing regulations.
Known for comedies featuring crude male bonding, director Todd Phillips helped adapt the screenplay from a 2011 Rolling Stone magazine article and tries to provide antic humor and relevant social commentary on topics ranging from the pitfalls of the Pentagon’s procurement system to the moral legitimacy of the American-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Bent on illustrating the idea that all armed conflicts are fueled by the profit motive, the filmmakers fail to strike the right tone, especially regarding the ethical consequences for one of the protagonists.
Several scenes of violence and gunplay, cohabitation, frequent drug use, pervasive rough and crude language some sexual banter. The Catholic News Service classification is L — limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.