This Means War

Spy vs. Spy for a Babe

         
 

14 February 2012| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

A sleek and spiffy romantic comedy that works as farce, satire, and that sexy stuff genre. This Means War has commercial action in it, but it’s not overkill. Basically, you got three hot stars. Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are CIA agents and best buds who both fall for the same girl, a quirky but sparkling Reese Witherspoon who was in the dating dumps until these two plucked her (yeah, right!). Much of it takes place in a fantasy Los Angeles with chic locations, where everybody wears sharp designer clothes. The director is McG (“Charlie’s Angels,” “We Are Marshall”) who I am not fond of. But if he’s now made one good movie, then he has fulfilled a purpose in this world. This is zestier, livelier, clap-out loud commercial entertainment.

What McG has done so efficiently is he has made a modern day farce with the same kind of vivacity, silliness, bounce and sparkle that was done fifty years ago in such flicks as “Bringing Up Baby” (1938) and “The Philadelphia Story” (1940). And the screenplay, credited to three different writers, isn’t to be mistaken for super intellectual but it has a screwball snap. It also contains a knowing critique of Hitchcock.

FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are gentlemen trying to win the girl fairly. Jealousy ensues, and so both men set up surveillance and reconnaissance teams to investigate their romantic progress. Witherspoon, as consumer specialist Lauren, dishes out her feelings to best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Each guy tweaks his dating strategy after listening in on the audio feeds. The buds soon hate each other, but still retain the promise to each other is that they will not sleep with her until she’s officially chosen one of them as her permanent hunk (that doesn’t stop the penis jokes, the one potential offender in an otherwise neat and charming entertainment).

Professional matters get in the way, for there’s a Euro-trash villain with a grudge who is hunting them down in Los Angeles, and with Lauren in the middle, there’s the inevitable stand-off and impromptu rescue of Lauren’s life. Punches are thrown, egos are bruised, guns discharge – but in reasonable moderation. (“Mr. & Mrs. Smith” is an example that took a neat idea and then shot it to hell with incessant gunfire.) Wish fulfillment and fantasy is what “This Means War” provides, especially if you think these stars are hot.

Guilty pleasure addicts feel free to apply, while the more discriminatory tastes might find this too loony and facile.

96 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

ROMANTIC COMEDY / GUILTY PLEASURES / FRIDAY DATE NIGHT

Film Cousins: “Charade” (1963); “Sweet Home Alabama” (2002); “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” (2005); “Get Smart” (2008).

 

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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