Known for outrageous, sometimes mean-spirited comedies like “The Hangover,” “Due Date” and “Old School,” director Todd Phillips has been itching to make something dramatic in these last few years. He’s been slowly moving towards a darker, nastier edge in comedies too as evinced by “Due Date,” which featured Robert Downey Jr. spitting in the face of an adorable French bulldog, and “The Hangover Part III,” easily the darkest of the series. Phillips almost directed “The Gambler” with Mark Wahlberg and he’s had other dramatic irons in the fire too.
But it appears he’s finally gotten there in “War Dogs,” the arms-dealing film starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller. Granted, it looks like a comedy in the same twisted way that Scorsese’s “The Wolf Of Wall Street” was hilarious but morally abject.
Based on a true story, “War Dogs” follows two friends in their early 20s (Hill and Teller) living in Miami during the 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 get in over their heads when they land a $300 million 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.
Co-starring Ana de Armas, “War Dogs” definitely looks like a mix of dark, fucked-up comedy and the drama that unfolds when the high life goes wrong. Written by Stephen Chin, Jason Smilovic and Phillips, “War Dogs” will be released by Warner Bros. on August 19th. Watch the first trailer below.