Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
There is a certain level of enjoyment you are guaranteed when signing on for a movie that boasts a cast of George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, and Bill Murray. And that's the precise level of enjoyment you'll get from The Monuments Men — that bare minimum smirk factor inherent the idea that your favorite stars are getting to play together. In FDR-era army helmets, no less. But what we also get from the film is an aura of smug self-confidence from project captain Clooney, who seems all too ready to take for granted that we're perfectly satisfied peering into his backyard clubhouse.
So assured is the director/co-writer that we're happy to be in on the game that there doesn't seem to be any effort taken to refine the product for the benefit of a viewing audience. An introductory speech from art historian Frank Stokes (Clooney) sets up the premise straight away: the Nazis are stealing and destroying all of Europe's paintings and sculptures, and by gum we need to stop them! The concept doesn't complicate from there, save for a batting back and forth of the throughline question about whether the preservation of these pieces is "really worth it." Stokes rallies his own Ocean's Seven on a fine arts rescue mission, instigating an old fashioned go-get-'em-boys montage where we learn everything we need to know about the band mates in question: Damon has a wife, Goodman has gumption, Murray doesn't smile, Bob Balaban is uppity, and Jean Dujardin is French.
The closest thing to a character in The Monuments Men comes in the form of Hugh Bonneville, a recovering alcoholic whose motivation to take on the dangerous mission is planted in a festering desire to absolve himself of a lifetime of f**king up. When we're away from Bonneville, the weight disspears, as does most of the joy. Without identifiable characters, even master funnymen like Goodman, Murray, and Balaban don't have much to offer... especially since the movie's jokes feel like first draft placeholders born on a tired night.
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
But wait a minute, is this even supposed to be a comedy? After all, it's about World War II. And no matter what Alexandre Desplat's impossibly merry score would have you believe (coupled with The Lego Movie, this opening weekend might be responsible for more musical jubilance than any other since the days of "Make 'Em Laugh!"), warfare, genocide, and desecration of international culture all make for some pretty heavy material. But The Monuments Men's drama is just as fatigued as its humor, clumsily piecing together a collection of mini missions wherein the stakes, somehow, never seem to jump. We're dragged through military bases, battered towns, and salt mines by Clooney and the gang — occasionally jumping over to France to watch Damon work his least effective magic in years on an uptight Cate Blanchett, who holds the key to the scruffy American's mission but doesn't quite trust him... until, for no apparent reason, she suddenly does. We never feel like any of these people matter, not even to each other, so we never really feel like their adventures do.
The Monuments Men doesn't have much of a challenge ahead of it. Its heroes are movie stars, its bad guys are Nazis, and its message is one that nobody's going to refute: art is important — a maxim it pounds home with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, through countless scenes of men staring in awe at the works of Michelangelo and Rembrandt. And in this easy endeavor, Clooney decides to coast. How could it possibly go wrong? Just grab hold of the fellas, toss 'em in the trenches, and let the laughs and danger write themselves. "This is what they came to see," Monuments Men insists. "Just us guys havin' a ball." But we never feel in on the game, and it isn't one that looks like that much fun anyhow.
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How much would you pay to be able to lounge around with a bikini-clad Scarlett Johansson? What if you were the one getting paid? Even better, right? Well, as it turns out, if you were the actress's bodyguard you'd get to do just that. Photos of a shirtless mystery man relaxing on board a yacht with the sexy Avengers star quickly made their way through the internet circuit and had many people speculating whether or not this was a full-fledged romance. But this isn't a random suitor nor is it her advertising beau Nate Naylor. He's actually her long-time bodyguard! (And we can see why she likes to keep him around).
[Photo credit: INFphoto.com]
Granted, half-naked sunbathing isn't how one usually opts to spend time with their boss, but when that boss looks like Johansson can you really blame the guy? Not a bad way to spend a day on the job if you ask me. Where do we sign up? But ScarJo isn't the first celeb to get a little cozy with her fearless protector. And it's understandable — you already know they'd take a bullet for you.
Check out the photos below and see for yourself just how intimate bodyguard duty can be:
Keeping Up With the BodyguardsAfter her breakup with Reggie Bush, Kim Kardashian turned to her bodyguard, Shengo Deane, for some comfort and even gave the Australian hunk an on-camera smooch. Who knows what else was going on down under off-camera.
[Photo credit: Splash News]
Kate and Bodyguard Plus 8For a long time, Kate Gosselin didn't go anywhere without her bodyguard, Steve Neild. Vacations, outings with the kids, grabbing coffee in the morning — you name it, they did it together. It's no wonder we're curious about what might have happened behind closed doors.
[Photo credit: Jackson Lee/Splash News]
Next: Find out who's doing some serious hand-holding.Hand-Holding GaloreAmy Winehouse and her bodyguard looked snug together as they took a little stroll on beautiful, sunny afternoon. I guess he'd been a very well-behaved employee.
[Photo credit: Islandpaps/Splash News]
Mr. and Mrs. BodyguardBack in 2007, Angelina Jolie was accused of being a little too close to her Scottish bodyguard Bill, whom she affectionately nicknamed Chisel. They look like quite the happy family. Has Brad seen this picture?
[Photo credit: Splash News]
I Will Always Love (My Bodyguard)Granted, Kevin Costner wasn't actually Whitney Houston's bodyguard in real life, but he did such a good job that I think it should still count. These two fell head over heels for each other, which I seriously doubt was part of his professional protocol. (They weren't talking about that kind of protection, Costner!)
[Photo credit: Warner Bros.]
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