“The Monuments Men” is the “Last Vegas” of World War II movies. A roughly true/fictionally embellished account of the efforts of American arts scholars — drafted into the Army — to preserve the artistic patrimony of Europe from the scourge of combat and theft by the Germans, it is a cute but clunky ensemble piece that director George Clooney rarely bestows with the gravitas and jauntiness this material demanded.
They changed the names — well, of almost everyone — from the historic “Monuments Men,” whose exploits were recounted in the book by Robert M. Edsel and Bret Witter. Clooney and co-adaptor Grant Heslov had to sex it up a bit, give the tale more thriller elements. But it still makes for a genial combat picture starring a bunch of guys “too old for this,” as indeed were many of the actual curators, artists and scholar-heroes who did the work.
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