George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, and John Goodman – “The Monuments Men” has great talent attached. But when production stuffs a film with such a large star-studded cast, it either sets itself up for a flop or a surprising success. (Take “Valentine’s Day,” a major fail, and “Anchorman: The Legend of Rob Burgundy,” a comedy classic, for example.) So which of the two roads did “The Monuments Men” land on? According to the majority of critics over at Rotten Tomatoes, it’s a failure with 30% rotten so far. I caught the “The Monuments Men” at a screening on Wednesday, February 5, and I’m still on the fence about it.
George Clooney stars as Frank Stokes, who, amidst World War II, teams up with six other art enthusiasts, curators, and art historians, to embark on the greatest treasure hunt in history. The assembled team goes on the mission to rescue stolen artistic masterpieces from the hands of the Nazi. Their already nearly impossible task goes haywire when they race against time to avoid the destruction of over one thousand years of culture and mankind’s greatest achievements.
An extraordinary story that deserves to be seen paired with a strong A-list cast…where did it go wrong? While it’s not the biggest letdown I have seen, I was a bit disappointed. I’m still calling this film entertaining because funny men Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, and John Goodman had some great comical scenes, which often distracted from the confusion of the film. They almost made this film worth-watching.
Among many things, “The Monuments Men” seriously lacked character development, often introducing the backstory of a character only to leave audiences with an unfinished background and many questions - or just killing the character off. The sometimes serious, sometimes ridiculous film, also depended heavily on the ol’ tricks such as old men gags (Bill Murray and John Goodman’s failed military training, who didn't see that coming?).
Scenes are quite sloppy, there’s a laugh here and there, and the characters themselves (particularly Matt Damon’s and Cate Blanchett’s) appear confused, but judge for yourself. “The Monuments Men” is in theaters Friday, February 6. It is rated PG-13 for some images of war violence and historical smoking. Running time is a long 2 hours.