Here’s how my day went today: I got bit by a dog early this afternoon, then I saw This Means War this evening. The pain I felt while watching this film was worse than getting bit in the arm by a bull terrier. McG proves yet again, that he has the ability to make films as ridiculous as his own name.
If you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen the whole thing. Tom Hardy and Chris Pine are partners in the CIA and they both meet and begin dating Reese Witherspoon, who doesn’t know they know each other. As the competition heats up, the two begin sabotaging their dates by utilizing CIA resources and probably wasting millions of taxpayer dollars in the process. Sound hilarious? It’s not.
This is a type of film that gets recycled every couple of years. The action/romance film that aims to please the date crowd. Plenty of love scenes for the ladies, and stuff blowing up for the dudes. It gets a new coat of paint, but it’s still that same pile of excrement we had before. It’s a comedy, but it’s not funny. It’s an action movie, but the action is sparse and unfulfilling. It’s a love story, but you don’t care which one of them gets her because they’re both kind of dirt bags. It fails on nearly all levels.
There is one thing to be said about the film, however. All the actors, including Pine, give great performances. Angela Bassett does a good job as the boss, however her talent is completely wasted, since she has about four lines in the entire film. The dynamic between Hardy and Pines is solid, and they truly seem like partners and best friends. The dialogue is very snappy, and succeeds at showing us that even tough CIA agents still feel awkward around a girl they like.
The same goes for Reese Witherspoon’s character for the most part. She plays a strong, career-focused woman who unwillingly gets back into the dating game because of an online ad her best friend (Chelsea Handler) posts. This is where a problem with her character comes up. At the beginning of the film, she runs into an ex, who she comes to find out, is engaged. This chance encounter between her, her ex, and his new fiance is quite awkward and actually funny. She stumbles over her words and says dumb things she wouldn’t normally. After this, she morphs into a shiny ball of confidence for the duration. She is never neurotic or awkward again, unless you count one scene near the end.
Although the focus of the film is obviously the love triangle, there is also a completely pointless sub-plot with Til Schweiger playing a Russian mobster who’s out to kill the guys. This was used as a crutch to do the following two things. First to produce a reason for the main characters being benched and having all this free time on their hands. Due to a screw up earlier in the film, Hardy and Pine are pulled out of the field, which gives them plenty of time to date the same girl and make a game out of it. Secondly, it is used to bring the gang together in the end. It wouldn’t be a romantic action comedy without a big finale, would it?
This Means War is a film that even those of you looking for a good date night movie should stay away from. It’s understandable that sometimes you just want to relax and watch a film that is mindless brain candy. Even still, stay away from it. It’s understandable that you may like the cast (not including Chris Pine). Even Still, stay away from it. It’s understandable if you saw Charlie’s Angels – Full Throttle, and want to check this one out. Even still…Actually in that case, go see it.