Rating: 3.2 out of 5
Length: 97 minutes
Release Date: Feb. 17, 2012
Directed by: McG
Genre: Comedy, Action, Romance
OVERVIEW – This Means War
“This Means War” is a raucous laugh-a-minute romantic comedy filled with just enough action to maintain a fast pace, an area where most romcoms fall short. It’s not unusual for multiple men to be interested in the same woman, but when the competing beaus are international super spies, it ups the ante in the romance department. “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” “Knight and Day” and “Killers” and provides the same type of action packed comedy that people come to expect from this type of movies. It certainly isn’t anything new or groundbreaking, but it provides a solid plot that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats and laughing in the aisles.
“This Means War” examines the love triangle and reinvents it by incorporating international intrigue. A naive consumer product tester meets two men who she believes are a cruise ship captain and a travel agent. On the surface, they seem to have rather mundane and banal lives, but in reality, they are gun-toting, gadget-using James Bond types that just happen to fall for the same girl. Both agents have been taken off active duty because they are targets of an international arms dealer.
Tuck, the grounded but divorced family man played by Tom Hardy, places an ad on a dating site. He sets up a date with Lauren, expertly played by the always-loveable Reese Witherspoon, but they bump into Tuck’s ladies’ man partner FDR Foster, played by Chris Pine. At first, the duo decides to let their own talents of seduction and persuasion be the deciding factor in her decision, but their overly competitive tendencies take over, and they’re soon developing over-the-top ways to keep track of the competition and help turn the odds in their favors.
“This Means War” was directed by McG, who has developed a reputation for seamless mixing of action and comedy to create visual masterpieces. He is perhaps best known for “Charlie’s Angels,” but he has a long and illustrious career, including work on “Supernatural,” “Chuck,” and “Nikita” on television as well as films such as “Terminator Salvation” and “We Are Marshall.” McG is known for elaborate stunts in his movies, and he continues this trend in “This Means War.”
The super-spy duo uses various means to sabotage the others’ dates, and the results are both funny and oftentimes exhilarating. His action is choreographed somewhat chaotically, but it only adds to the excitement of the moment, which leads me to believe that this was done intentionally.
Reese Witherspoon steals the show as the clueless and naive Lauren. There is an obvious chemistry between her and Hardy, which makes their scenes particularly poignant. They exude a magnetism that just isn’t there with Pine. Witherspoon is a tremendous actress who is able to expertly take on the role of Lauren. She may have channeled her character Elle from the “Legally Blonde” franchise.
Hardy may be most known for his role of Eames in the blockbuster “Inception,” but he has roots in such works as “Wuthering Heights” and “Oliver Twist.” Tuck is as divorced family man with a son, who wants nothing more than to find the right woman. He thinks that Lauren might be the perfect match, but his partner gets in the way. Tuck is the less James Bond-like of the two and seems more of the everyman then Foster.
Pine is the definitive James Bond character in “This Means War.” You expect him to call Q at any second. This also lends his character a rigidity that makes it more difficult for him to develop throughout the film. Pine is the consummate professional and is able to take a seemingly one-dimensional character and transform him into someone likeable and relatable.
Much of the dialog between Tuck and Foster is comprised of quippy one-liners that give insight into their testosterone-driven lives. Everything is a competition, and they are always trying to outdo the other. There is a definite dialog shift when Witherspoon is involved. Her perennial innocence melds well with the world weariness of the two spies.
“This Means War” is the perfect date movie that has elements that both sexes will enjoy. It’s certainly nothing new in the romantic-comedy category, but the characters are well developed and provide a unique perspective on the traditional love triangle.
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