Rating: 2 stars out of 5
In this combination of the Bachelor final with Spy vs Spy, two CIA agents played by Chris Pine and Tom Hardy vie for the love of Reese Witherspoon, who is man starved.
The film kicks off in Hong Kong, where FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) have to stop generic European criminal Henrich (Til Schweiger) from doing.. something. They kill his brother and Heinrich seeks revenge.
Grounded back in Los Angeles, the two agents turn their attention to romantic pursuits, and Lauren pops into both their lives. They both go in pursuit of her, and when they start using bugs and other devices to spy on her, as well as enlisting the help of other agents, who obviously have nothing better to do, to monitor Lauren, the film gets a little creepy.
Predictably, it all builds up to a showdown with Heinrich, Lauren and the two agents after a whole bunch of falling out in the love triangle.
Directed by McG and with a script by the Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt hit "Mr. And Mrs. Smith", This Means War constantly goes for the easy laugh, trying to wring comedy from a bag of clichéd ideas. Many of the plot points are telegraphed, such as the role that Tuck’s ex-wife will ultimately play.
Witherspoon is probably the best of the trio, and still able to mine her comedic skills. She’s still able to sell some of the bimbo material that the movie offers. Good-looking Pine, with his sky blue eyes, has surprisingly good comic timing, even if some of the dialogue and scenes are awful.
But the bulky Hardy stumbles, seemingly out of place and uncomfortable in this half-written role. One almost hopes that he’ll just let go and rip the annoyingly handsome Pine’s head off in some scenes.
Ultimately, the supporting cast, particularly the agents who monitor the bugs and spy on Lauren, are the ones with the best lines.
McG, who directed the "Charlie’s Angels" series and one of the most forgettable "Terminator" movies ever, shows flair but little style. The action scene that kicks off the film is almost incomprehensible, and a brawl scene between the two male leads seems to suddenly empty the restaurant they’re in of both customers and waiters. The final chase scene makes little sense as well.
"This Means War" is a trifle, firmly aimed at the slow season. The laughs lack punch, and the situation, could have been helped with some bizarreness, or even pushed the bromance angle hinted at between Pine and Hardy’s characters. It’s an idea that pretty much runs out of bullets in the first 30 minutes.