A Selective Guide to the Arts in Los Angeles

There’s a name missing from the credits to this most entertaining action/quasi-documentary film. It’s Dick Cheney’s. Without his evil genius, the story line of “War Dogs” would not exist. So, thank you, Dick.

Although immoral throughout, it’s a feel-good story. It feels true (it mostly is). In the theater you laugh and enjoy the action and the suspense. The day after you are taken aback by what you saw.

It’s a success story gone astray. On the good news side, it’s reassuring that American creativity is very much alive and doing well. The bad news is how this creativity is used. And that’s the meat of the story.

As the title indicates, it’s not a Disney plot. It’s two young men taking unscrupulous advantage of a malfunctioning Pentagon arms acquisition system in a get-rich-quick scheme that works amazingly well until one becomes too much of a pig (beautifully played by a suitably overweight  Jonah Hill who nails it).

To no one’s surprise, it again confirms that the U.S. war machine (never known for its off-the-battlefield efficiency) is populated by bureaucratic nitwits. In that line of thought, once “War Dogs” leaves the theaters it should be shown on PBS as it provides a public service to all taxpayers via powerful evidence of how tax dollars continue to be obscenely misspent.

Another bit of good news is that Todd Phillips is back to original story lines rather than increasingly diluted sequels (e.g., “The Hangover” franchise). And do not be surprised if some of the actors end up with various award nominations.

It also leaves you wanting to know more, as the sad saga of the protagonists is far from over. Lots of lawsuits have been filed over this film.

“War Dogs” is entertaining, and it makes you think. So what else do you want for $12?

—Ekphrasis Rex, Culture Spot LA