‘War Dogs’ and the Todd Phillips Formula

Amulya sai Inturi

War Dogs is an upcoming 2016 American biographical crime war comedy film based on a true story. Previously titled Arms and the Dudes, the film stars Jonah Hill and Miles Teller as two ambitious young men who supplied weapons for the US’ allies in Afghanistan.

The movie is based on a Rolling Stone article by Guy Lawson about the true exploits of David Packouz (Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Hill). War Dogs follows two friends in their early 20s living in Miami during the first Iraq War who exploit a little-known government initiative that allows small businesses to bid on U.S. Military contracts.  Starting small, they begin raking in big money and are living the high life.  But the pair gets in over their heads when they land a 300 million dollar deal to arm the Afghan Military—a deal that puts them in business with some very shady people, not the least of which turns out to be the U.S. Government.


This comedic drama is co-written and directed by The Hangover filmmaker Todd Phillips. Todd Phillips movies have been quite formulaic , always involving guys and their relationships. While critics slammed most of his movies, films like The Hangover and Due Date were commercially successful.

What can we expect from War Dogs?

Firstly, War Dogs is a Todd Philips movie. The tale appealed to Phillips’ penchant for grounded stories. “I’ve always strived to draw from the real world, even though The Hangover is ridiculous,” Phillips says. “Comedy plays better when it’s put up against reality.” Moreover, we could expect an interesting narration, unorthodox sequences and most importantly, a lot of craziness. This time, he is back with an unusual duo, Miles Teller, and Jonah Hill. Hill has proved to be extremely proficient in comedies after The Wolf Of Wall Street and 21 Jump Street. Watching him team up with Teller is going to be interesting. Teller, on the other hand,  is the “it” guy right now with many movies in his hand. We would love to see him explore the comedy genre.


Another fascinating addition to this hilarious duo is Bradley Cooper. Cooper has produced and starred in the movie, and co-stars as David and Efraim’s idol in the international arms world. Cooper’s character is one of the real life influences of Nicholas Cage’s character in Lord of War. He plays the role of a guy who was selling weapons to the Taliban and was afraid that they were doing too well and the war would end, so he joined up with these guys to sell weapons to the Afghan army. Then he bought the weapons from the Albanian mafia, who got them from the Chinese. He has since disappeared and this really happened!


The craziest part of the whole thing is that, unlike the Hangover series, this story is rooted in reality. We may not see any Tigers in the bathroom, so this could probably go a little off the Todd Phillips’ formula. However, this dramedy could prove to be a fascinating watch. The film also stars Barry Livingston and Ana de Armas and opens in theaters on August 19th.

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