3.5 out of 5 stars
After Whiplash, I would gladly go see any film with Miles Teller (though I draw the line with Fantastic Four but I will probably catch it at some point, but I digress). In War Dogs, it is his character who acts as our guide into the world of arms dealing and his easy Everyman charm helps make some of exposition more digestible and even exciting, adding to the thrills of a movie that is part satirical dramedy and part rags to riches story. But if I came for Teller, it was Jonah Hill’s performance that’s surprisingly worth staying for. He has certainly graduated from the comedic sidekick roles or secondary character in dramas such as The Wolf of Wall Street to become a major player here. His young and unthreatening appearance hides a meaner and more reckless risk-taker, a violent eruption that’s seconds away from happening, which moves the film up a few notches. From the cogency of a decently written script, to the slick production, Todd Phillips’ fluid directing , and the lead actors’ charming performances, almost every aspect of the film exceeds my (albeit low) expectations, creating an unexpectedly enjoyable film. Even though it might come across as The Wolf of Wall Street-lite, the combined effects of all the above produced a film I find both entertaining and somewhat meaningful.