This Means War

  • 2012-02-22
  • By Laurence Boyce

Director: McG

Given that he has a patently ridiculous name, it’s not a surprise that director McG (who presumably comes with fries and a large coke) has been responsible for some patently ridiculous movies (including both “Charlie’s Angels” films and “Terminator: Salvation”). But “This Means War” makes his previous efforts look like “Citizen Kane” in comparison. A frightening mixture of date movie and action spectacle, the film is a combination of the worst of both genres.

FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are CIA agents, dutifully blowing up the bad guys and making sure that America stays number one (rather ironic given that Tuck is British – a fact never really explained). But their love lives prove more complicated than secret missions and the divorced Tuck decides to give on-line dating a try. He meets the beautiful Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) and they hit it off immediately. But after their date, Lauren bumps into FDR and a spark is ignited between them as well. When Tuck and FDR find out they are dating the same woman, they decide to let the best man win: but with the full disposal of the CIA machinery behind them, there is bound to be some cheating.

This tries to be lightweight and whimsical – with a little bit of adult humor thrown in on occasion – but it just ends up being crushingly crass. The marrying of the chick flick with the boys own adventure seems – even by the standards of the genre – entirely cynical whilst there’s a nasty hint of misogyny and right-wing sentiment hanging around the film like a bad smell.

Pine, Witherspoon and, especially, Hardy are very charming and help elevate the material slightly and there’s no doubt that McG can stage an action sequence. But if you want to go on a date, visit a restaurant instead: there’s less chance of it leaving a nasty taste in the mouth.


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