This Means War Directed by: McG Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Chelsea Handler Running Time: 1 hr 38 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: February 17, 2012
PLOT: Two best friends and CIA agents (Pine and Hardy) fall for the same woman (Witherspoon). They try to top one another for her affections.
WHO'S IT FOR? This one is mainly for the ladies who absolutely adore the idea of two good-looking men fighting over her.
A hip bass line starts us off. Two CIA agents strut in and get ready for battle. Gun fire, explosions, and fisticuffs follow. We're watching a spy movie! Right about then, the record screeches. This Means War makes me mad, even though it's just an average, forgettable film.
The reason you may think I'm upset is because it begins as an action film and quickly turns into a rom-com. That's not the case. I can handle romantic comedies, especially when they might involve a little action. Knight and Day is no Romancing the Stone, but it is still a good time.
Tuck (Hardy) is a nice, divorced guy who sincerely is looking for love. FDR (Pine) is a man who loves to use women and thinks it's OK. Who do you want to win? They are both vying for Lauren, whose job is a product tester, and that's all we ever learn about her. She's also hot, but I think that mainly has to do with Witherspoon playing this character. These two CIA agents have plenty of time on their hands since they bungled a job involving our villain Heinrich (Til Schweiger). This might be the only time I mention Heinrich, since our bad guy is barely in this film except when it's convenient to force some action on the screen.
This Means War follows "The Bachelorette" formula. I realize some women just stopped reading this review to get in line. I also realize that I just revealed that I am aware of "The Bachelorette." Two men fight over a woman in a series of escalating dates. It starts with lunch and some light conversation. Soon, we're behind the scenes at a circus on the flying trapeze. They're both making out on the first date. The guys know about each other, but play the game for the same woman's affection. The woman decides it's not a big deal to fall for two men. There's even home dates when Lauren meets families, and finally one of guys gets a rose (and by rose, I'm talking about sex).
Chris Pine acts like he's playing a CIA agent, instead of just being one. He also needs to learn how to control the cocky. The reason the character Captain James Tiberius Kirk can be so cocky is because he is always putting the safety of his crew first. FDR is just cocky, and therefore if you aren't seduced by his dreamy eyes, he's annoying. OK, enough cocky.
All of this could have been fixed if the film was just funnier. Unfortunately it seems they just handed off the funny to Chelsea Handler as Lauren's sidekick Trish. I honestly can't remember if she's a sister or friend. Trish trashes her husband, forces Lauren to date online with a whorish profile, and bugs me every single minute she's onscreen. Also, why in the world did FDR and Tuck have to start off as best friends? Why not enemies? I don't want to watch a friendship painfully go up in flames, especially when it's done with such a lazy effort. More proof that the film is lazy lies within Tuck and his son. He hangs out with his son once, instead spending all of his free time following Lauren around. Then, Tuck later uses his kid to score relationship points, and he's the good guy between the two. Want even more proof the movie is lazy? Other CIA agents are brought in to do surveillance on Lauren under the idea that this is a mission. They never question the logic, even though it's obvious this "mission" is personal.
With Trish's attitude and Lauren's decisions, this film is definitely not a giant leap forward for women. Lauren yells, "I trusted you," to FDR and Tuck, yet doesn't realize she's being incredibly hypocritical since she never admitted another man was in her life. Plus, Lauren goes out with FDR because he bugs her into submission, and then she kisses him to make her ex jealous. Why are we still seeing women desperate for any man to show her affection in front of an ex?
The mere presence of Tom Hardy, a hint of the dating talk, and the IDEA of using spy equipment to score with a woman save this movie from being unbearable. Plus, the running time doesn't hurt. When you truly start to feel the time, the movie is done at just more than an hour and a half. I think this film will actually do great at the box office. The audience isn't required to think, gives them a superficial formula they're familiar with ("The Bachelorette"), and pretty people to look at. This Means War doesn't deserve the money it will make, and I can't wait to stop thinking about it.
FINAL SCORE: 4/10