In the new movie War Dogs, we get to meet two motivated young Americans. David Packouz (Miles Teller) is a kid doing whatever it takes to survive. He’s a massage therapist, but has dreams of going into business for himself. Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill), David’s old friend, rolls back into town and reconnects with him. Efraim quickly invites David to join his company, AEY, Inc. Together the two will be selling weapons to the U.S. government, a perfect career for any 20-something, right?
Because of past rigged contracts, the government has been forced to open up the bidding process to all companies. Sure, the big defense contractors go hard after the large contracts, but there are thousands of smaller contracts worth peanuts left for small companies like AEY. That’s the way in. By constantly scouring the bottom of the barrel, Efraim and David find success. With that success, they make some influential friends along with a lot of money. And their silent partner increases his investment, giving them the capital they need to go after bigger deals.
Life is good for the pair, but when AEY — growing with reckless abandon — goes after the big contracts, things start to fall apart. No longer are Efraim and David dealing with a truckload full of guns getting from a manufacturer to the troops in Iraq, they are now dealing with people who find themselves on terrorist watch lists. And this is not a video game like most people their age are playing — this is real life, with no reset button in sight.
This movie was a pleasant surprise for me, though I should not have been surprised. Director Todd Phillips has both hits and misses in his filmography. Taking this story, based on actual events, and bringing it to the screen with an amazing cast, feels quite effortless for Phillips.
Hill continues his wise film choices that really bring out the best in him. He is able to be both witty and serious, creating a character who we think is half crazy and half sincere. He’s at his best when adding light moments to a serious situation. Teller is a perfect addition and continues his rise through the ranks, taking on a character who is nervous but focused and wants nothing but the best for his family and friend. But as is the case with many friendships, the two have real struggles, real moments when one does more work than the other. Hill and Teller are two young Hollywood talents we will all be enjoying for years to come.
War Dogs illustrates that solid characters brought to life by talented actors can tell us a story that is serious, yet humorous and engaging throughout. These war dogs prove one thing: All war is good for something — MONEY!
War Dogs is available beginning Nov. 22 On Demand. Check your cable system for availability