Release Date: February 17, 2012. Director: McG. Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy. Runtime: 1hr, 37 min. Tagline: It’s SPY Against SPY.
Best buddy CIA agents FDR [Franklin] (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are marked for death by Heinrich, an enemy of the CIA. He marks them for death because they killed his brother. They get pulled out of the field because of this. Tuck decides to insert some fun into his life by trying online dating. He meets the beautiful Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), and he is immediately stricken. FDR is also stricken when he flirts with her in a video store – and he soon swoons her into a date. The two budaroo’s soon find out they’re dating the same woman, and they “respectfully” decide to keep quiet and let her make the decision. Though, they’re finding being respectful is a little harder than expected, and they put cameras all over her home and start sabotaging each other’s dates.
Oh, you know that old buddy comedy formula. They each vow that this something-or-rather competition (in this case, winning the affection of a sexy gal) will not get in the way of their friendship. However, that promise is never kept. And then they’re all magically hunky-dory in the end.
If you go into this expecting full-blown quality action, you won’t get it. There are about four action sequences that are enjoyable, but mediocre. And they are certainly not memorable. This is very much a romantic comedy. Though, it is more comedy than romance. It’s mostly hilarious with some comedy lacking in a few areas of the film. The three protagonists are likeable, but hypocritical.
SPOILER ALERT: When Lauren finds out that FDR and Tuck knew each other, she gets angry and says “I trusted you.” Well, lady, you’re the one who was dating two men at the same time. Then she immediately forgives the two lads. END OF SPOILERS.
The story is okay, but it’s very predictable. In the simplest of words, it’s just a story of retaliation. The main protagonists just go after each other after one sabotages one’s date, and it’s just a never-ending cycle. The story certainly isn’t one for the ages, and it really isn’t a film I’d like to endure again any time soon. Mostly because it has some of the worst storytelling I’ve ever seen. The general premise is an okay one, but it’s just brought down by a few aspects. This is mostly the Heinrich sub-plot. The writers never really forget about him, but they don’t make his character anything special. They drop a few reminders throughout the film that he’ll probably return. Also, the storytelling is so bad, that I’m 95% sure they never even tell us why they’re after Heinrich. Sure, some characters say: “What does this have to do with the Heinrich case?” But I don’t think they ever even bothered to tell us. Sure, it might be ‘If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you’ confidential, but we, as the audience, what to know! Also, the only reason FDR and Lauren really hit it off was because Lauren was trying to make an ex-boyfriend jealous, and the writers completely forgot about him after the fact.
This Means War is by no means a horrid film, it is only a flawed and an extremely mediocre one. It’s a fun, funny and entertaining ride, that just gets completely brought down by a far-too average story, lack of action, poor storytelling and characters that are hard to care for completely.
This also violated the rule of ‘Don’t show a movie that’s better than your own.’ In a nutshell, don’t freaking show Gone with the Wind in your movie!
Score: 60 out 100