The trailer for ‘War Dogs’ has dudes dealing arms

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courtesy of collider.com

Diveroli (Hill) and Packouz (Teller) test out their goods at a firing.

Alec Badalian, Magazine Editor

Todd Phillips is one of Hollywood’s most problematic comedic filmmakers. From Old School to Due Date to The Hangover trilogy, Phillips’ movie all seem to have an overbearingly drastic theme of white male privilege. Not to say that films with a predominantly white cast need to have the character be frequently punished, but Phillips’ characters never seem to face any sort of meaningful or appropriate consequences. His latest comedy War Dogs seems to have elements that both divulge from this theme as well as play very closely to it.

Coming to theaters Aug. 19, this war comedy is based on the true story of two young men, Efraim Diveroli (Jonah Hill) and David Packouz (Miles Teller), who, due to their unsuspicious nature, are hired by the Pentagon to arm troops in Afghanistan. After receiving a $300 contract, the two celebrate in Todd Phillips fashion: debaucherous adventures and wild parties. Will they commit some heinous acts? Probably. Will they ever face the appropriate consequences? Probably not.

These are two incredibly funny and talented young leads who have starred in both terrific comedies and dramas. The brief instances of chemistry they show here seem pretty palpable and entertaining. The moment of confusion the two share at the end is quite humorous, and Hill’s brisk transition from calmness to rage towards the beginning is hilariously performed and edited.

Teller also appears to be in his top comedic shape as well, playing really well as the straight man off of Hill’s less composed maniac. He’s definitely one of the main draws of this film given his charismatic flair and versatility as an actor, having nailed both light-hearted, charming characters in films such as the beautiful coming-of-age story The Spectacular Now as well as darker, more stern characters as proved with his role in the phenomenal drama Whiplash.

So there are definitely some positives here, but it’s hard to be completely excited for this given Philips’ excessive glorification of white male privilege which will likely be prominent here as always with his films. It definitely has potential given the leads and the subject matter, but if it pummels itself with Phillips’ thematic tendencies, then things might not end up so well.