Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This Means War (2012)

After watching This Means War, one can't help but think why such prominent actors like Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy and Chris Pine agreed to do this movie. Or maybe the more the greater question is, why was this movie even made?

The genre of the movie lies in the realm of romantic comedies, with a bit of action thrown in. Hardy's character, Tuck Henson, is an agent in the Central Intelligence Agency. His coworker and best friend, FDR Foster, portrayed by Pine, also is a CIA agent.

The film, directed by McG (Terminator Salvation, We Are Marshall), starts out with an action packed scene where the two are chasing after a an international criminal named Heinrich (Til Schweiger.) The scene, while colorful and extensively choreographed as the two heroes chase the villain over a rooftop, immediately lets the viewer know that this film will not apply to the basic laws of human abilities. The scene happens fast, and before you know it, we're back at the CIA headquarters and you don't even really know what just happened.

Witherspoon, meanwhile, plays Lauren Scott, an executive for a product testing agency, and has a best friend named Trish (Chelsea Handler), who exists to try and create humor. Through certain circumstances that don't really matter, Lauren ends up dating both FDR and Tuck at the same exact time.

Tuck and FDR become aware of this -- Lauren doesn't -- and the two engage in all-out "warfare" to try and be the one who wins her over. As CIA agents, the two totally abandon their actual responsibilities, and instead use all of their resources to track Lauren using various invasive and very illegal strategies such as hidden microphones, GPS trackers and breaking-and-entering.

The film doesn't even remotely attempt to portray the CIA in a realistic way, and instead tries to portray the agency's headquarters as some new-age technologically advanced building that you might see in a movie that's supposed to take place 20 years from now. I know it's a fictional and lighthearted story, but even so, that the two men could disregard their patriotic duties in such an obvious manner with no consequences is a flat-out insult to our government.

Meanwhile, Lauren actively plays both men against each other, and pretty much portrays every stereotype women possess by being overly oblivious, needy, desperate, indecisive and blonde. Her character is a flat-out insult towards women everywhere.

I can see why Pine, whose character is supposed to be a womanizer, would have taken this role. He more than held his own in a leading role in 2009's Star Trek, and was even adequate in Unstoppable (2010). But he's not quite A-list yet, so taking a role along side names like Reese Witherspoon and budding star Tom Hardy was a no-brainer.

Tom Hardy and Chris Pine play CIA agents in This Means War
Hardy, whose character is more reserved and compassionate, is a little bit more of a mystery. My only rationale is that, at the time, knowing he would have a strenuous and taxing role as Bane in Christopher Nolan's upcoming The Dark Knight Rises, he decided to take an easier, lighter role, and at the same time, make some serious dough. However, he did excel in his role a bit more than the others, and is the only real character that you can relate to in the entire production, even if it's just a little.

Witherspoon, meanwhile, has been a big question mark ever since her career-defining and Oscar-winning role as June Carter in Walk the Line (2005), has had a hard time distinguishing herself since then. She's done a wide array of movies, including rom-coms, dramas and political thrillers, but this one by far represents herself the worst. Her character in This Means War makes her role in Legally Blonde seem as authentic and politically correct as can be.

The movie really does not have many redeeming factors at all. I suppose if you are a big fan of one of the actors, then you can try watching it. Despite it being a romantic comedy, it's not romantic and it's not funny. It purely relies on cheap, slapstick and crude humor with no real intelligence.

The movie attempts to wrap up by adding a little drama between the three characters, while intertwining it with the original plot line involving Henrich, but all it ends up adding up to is more disbelief and a giant mess.

~ Review by Ddubbs

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