Even after two Oscar nominations, it still feels as though we’re not taking Jonah Hill seriously enough as an actor—and he’s so good here that it only emphasizes how much better he is than the rest of the movie. The fact-based story follows a struggling Miami guy named David Packouz (Miles Teller) with a pregnant girlfriend (Ana de Armas) who joins his childhood best friend, Efraim Diveroli (Hill) in his new business filling government military contracts. Co-writer/director Todd Phillips (The Hangover) tries to focus on the logistics—and absurdity—of the system that allows Efraim and David to prosper, but he never feels like a good fit for what is ultimately a morality tale, as he turns nightmarish scenarios into comedic hijinks. And while the tension between David and his girlfriend becomes the primary emotional component, that allows attention to drift away from Hill, who brilliantly turns Efraim into an embodiment of sociopathic capitalism. His creepy, high thin laugh practically becomes a character on its own, saying more than the entire rest of the film can muster about an insane system building profit out of death.
Director: Todd Phillips
Producer: Mark Gordon, Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, David Siegel, Brett Ratner, Scott Budnick, Mark O'Connor and Bryan Zuriff
Cast: Jonah Hill, Miles Teller, Ana de Armas, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Pollak, Steve Lantz, Gregg Weiner, David Packouz, Eddie Jemison, Julian Sergi and Shaun Toub