Let’s be honest. There are not a lot of movies that appeal to both the men and the ladies – and, rightfully so. Certainly, most of us will concede to spending twenty bucks and our Friday night at the theater to watch something our sweetie wants us to see, but we know it’s not without a struggle. Luckily for all those couples out there, desperately searching for a movie to see that they will both agree on, This Means War comes out to save us all.
I have been eagerly waiting to see this movie since I saw the preview a few months ago; and while it didn’t completely satisfy my current obsession with the delicious Tom Hardy, it was definitely a movie worth seeing. Not only is it packed with action, romance, and thoroughly peppered with the fantastic comedy of the delightfully raunchy Chelsea Handler, but it also succeeds at being a movie that everyone can enjoy this Valentine’s Day, no matter what their current relationship status is.
The movie jump-starts the audience by delivering an action-packed fighting sequence that introduces us to the leading men, CIA Special Agents FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy). FDR is a stereotypical playboy, with stunning good looks and suave demeanor. Tuck, though equally attractive, has a less than stellar dating life, due in part to his failed relationship with Katie (Abigail Leigh Spencer), mother of his son Joe (John Paul Ruttan). Though mocked by FDR, Tuck creates a profile on a dating website, where he meets Lauren (Reese Witherspoon).
By some twist of fate, Lauren ends up in a relationship with both men, bringing their friendship to a grinding halt. The rest of the movie is spent following Tuck and FDR as they attempt to not only win over Lauren, but sabotage each other’s chance at getting the girl.
For the most part, the movie works. The comedy is what really makes this movie, and I was surprised in the delivery at times. From the expected potty mouth jokes and inappropriate humor to the surprising and painful to watch bodily humor, the audience is succumbed by laughter for much of the movie.
The plot is definitely lacking at points, but there are some fairly interesting underlying secondary and tertiary plot lines that give more depth and dimension to support the main plot. Still, the secondary plot had some definite holes that needed to be filled. Because the main plot circles around which guy will walk away with Lauren’s love, the fact that Tuck and FDR are secret agents becomes the secondary plot.
At the beginning of the movie, bad guy Karl Heinrich (Til Schweiger) gets away during a covert operation to bring him and his brother Jonas in. We never get resolution until the end of the movie, and even then, it is forced and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense with what has been going on in the rest of the movie. Really, it’s more of a way to remind us that Tuck and FDR work for the CIA; which is kind of the point of the whole movie…
The acting is what you would probably expect from a romantic comedy, but in this case, it doesn’t bother me too much. For example, Chelsea Handler plays Lauren’s best friend, Trish, a married mom who attempts to live life vicariously through the single Lauren. However, Trish is really just an extension of Chelsea; and, even though I realize this as I watch the movie, I’m not going to complain because every time she appeared on screen, I knew I was in for a good laugh.
As well, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy have great chemistry on screen, and they deliver some great comedic banter throughout the movie. The chemistry between each Hardy and Pine with Reese Witherspoon, however, was fairly hit-or-miss from scene to scene – something that eventually really killed the ending for me.
The ending of the movie bothered me, mostly because I didn’t care for how the loose ends were tied up. It was almost as though they didn’t know what to do, so they put all of the possible endings into a hat and drew the winner. It left a sour taste in my mouth for what was otherwise a pretty decent movie.
Some other things to point out would be the obvious stereotypes and skewed methods of thinking that are present throughout the movie. For example, Lauren appears empowered by dating two guys – let’s face it, most women are perceived as total sluts if they even consider it. Still, instead of it making her feel empowered to choose the best guy for her, it causes her to feel like a horrible person, and she ends up needing to be saved by a man in the end. Also, the glorification of online dating makes me depressed for those single people out there. Trust me; it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
While there are definitely some issues with this movie, my verdict is to see it. It’s not the best of the best, but it succeeds at being an entertaining flick that both of you can agree to see.
This Means War – 7.5/10