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Home Reviews Cinema reviews Film Review: This Means War
Film Review: This Means War Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Tuesday, 28 February 2012 16:31
Chris Pine, This Means War - review
Director: McG
Cast: Tom Hardy, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon
Certificate: 15
This Means War trailer

When CIA agents aren’t busy going rogue, they’re usually busy lying to a girl to get into her bed. It’s only a matter of time, then, before two CGI agents who aren’t going rogue end up chasing the same woman. Lo and behold, that’s exactly what happens in McG’s action-spy-rom-com. It’s shallow, obvious, by-the-numbers film-making. But you know what? It works.

That’s pretty much all down to the cast. Chris Pine, Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon enter their love triangle with a twinkly chemistry that covers up a lot of shoddy writing.

Witherspoon's extremely hot but single woman, we are told, is an insecure product tester and unused to dating - which makes her the perfect target for the two CIA agents. Hardy is quiet and gentle, Pine is loud and brash. Both are extremely hot and single.

What follows is a string of sabotaged dates, ranging from tranquiliser darts and surveillance drones to car chases and restaurant punch-ups, as the men try to work out what Witherspoon wants in an ideal partner. The action, when it comes, is chaotic at best and the jokes between Witherspoon and her best friend (comedienne Chelsea Handler) mostly miss the mark. But the film suddenly springs to life when the two blokes are facing off against each other.

Pine's suave playboy gets the most to do, throwing out slick insults while gradually picking up emotional life lessons. But Hardy is equally fun, switching into violent, sexy mode with a butch intensity. Together, they actually make a cute couple.

Unfortunately, This Means War's script isn't quite so charming. Struggling to please everyone, it winds up with a contrived conclusion that's emotionally unsatisfying and shortchanges at least one of its characters. And that's before you consider the mixed signals it keeps sending out.

Infiltrating Witherspoon's home, the two suitors slink between rooms like ninjas as she flits around the kitchen, blissfully unaware. Is she stupid for not noticing? Is she wrong to be dating two men at the same time? Are they horrible for treating her like a prize to be fought over? Is McG actually providing a witty insight into the pitfalls of modern dating?

Somewhere in between Reese Witherspoon spraying Tom Hardy with a hose and Chris Pine's dreamy blue eyes, I stopped caring and just enjoyed it.



What did you think of the film? 

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