This Means War

So.

A romantic comedy, directed by McG.

Released in February.

The warning signs were there for me on this one, I was not looking forward to this flick at all, I pretty much had to drag myself in. As way of proof, I offer my tweet from about 7:25 or so est, last night:

But then. A funny thing happened on my way to hating it.

I started laughing.

“This Means War” is a romantic comedy with the scales decidedly tipped in favor of the comedy. Certainly there are a handful of romantic moments here and there, but more than anything, they’re gunning for laughs.

With a secondary emphasis on the “Gunning”. See? Chris Pine and Tom Hardy play two CIA agents who fall for the same girl while they’re both benched from active duty. So within that “spying” context, there’s plenty of excuses to intersperse some gun play, some fistfights, and a bunch of gadgets. They’re also being tracked down by an international fugitive, so there’s an action climax to the movie to look forward to… but of course, their biggest obstacle is each other.

Through a series of coincidences (conveniently orchestrated so that Reese doesn’t come off like a two-timing ____), Hardy and Pine both begin seeing her character at the same time. She’s interested in both, as obviously both are very handsome, and they’re both bringing a different appeal to the table. Hardy’s Tuck is the sweet sensitive type. Even though he’s a bruiser of a man, he has a young son, is very soft-spoken, and tends towards the romantic in wooing Reese’s Lauren. Pine, as FDR, is a slick ladies man with the well-practiced moves and lines and the VIP pass to the hot club. I’m not sure what the word is nowadays, but not too long ago it was “Playa”.

It’s not too long before the two discover that they’re both interested in the same girl.

At first, the two make a “gentleman’s agreement” to let her decide, and not get in each other’s way, but that goes by the wayside almost immediately. It’s not long before they’re putting the full resources of the CIA into play spying on each other, sabotaging each other, and trying to find their way into Luaren’s heart. And this is where it got funny. I mean, I found myself laughing at several points, and the theatre was too… These guys obsess over watching each other and go to great lengths to trip the other guy up. And then when they succeed in their sabotage, they take this kind of “HA HA!” glee in %#&$ing the other guy up that… it got to me. These guys have some real fun at the other’s expense, and it translates into being fun to watch.

It isn’t all win, though. Chelsea Handler is alternately funny and annoying to me, it’s really my first exposure to her, so I don’t know how her fans and/or haters will take to it. I found her a little too much. And Reese’s character goes to her for EVERYTHING. Now, I know as an educated movie watcher that that’s because without someone to talk to, they can’t verbalize Lauren’s side of the story. But maybe they should have given her more friends? Turned this one down a notch? The action sequences are pretty lightweight, too. I mean it’s not supposed to be MI:4 or anything, but there were times when the quick cutting was way out of control and even when it wasn’t, the action is very slick and glossy and non threatening to the point of me discounting it.

“This Means War” is a movie that’s sort of reminiscent of a “Mr and Mrs Smith” Lite. It’s funny and fun, but nothing that will stay with you long after the credits roll. The three leads are all charismatic and OBVIOUSLY enjoying themselves. Reese has a lot of fun as a woman with too much good fortune on her hands, and Pine and Hardy bust each other’s balls to great effect.

I found it to be an effervescent piece of confectionary fun.

B

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18 thoughts on “This Means War

  1. Well, I’m glad you enjoyed it. For myself however, he concept is SO bad I just can’t bring myself to bother with it. There seems to be a trend lately in using spy films for more light-hearted genres which seems to have started with Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Its to the point where there are more of these than serious spy films, which is unfortunate.

    • LOL. You may actually be right about that last part.

      More spoofs than the serious. Wow, yeah… that’s… you may be right. LOL.

      Still, it was fun. I mean, I wouldnt have gone either if I didnt want to “Feed the Blog” but I’m glad I did, it was harmless entertainment.

  2. Can’t speak to the movie, at least not yet, but as for Handler… I’ve seen her late night show, Chelsea Lately, which is basically just a roundtable panel of comedians on the current entertainment gossip. As a comedian, she’s not bad; not great, and she takes refuge in vulgarity far too often for my tastes, but she’s reasonably witty. I’ve also seen the TV show based off her book, where she plays the older sister of the character based on her and she doesn’t fare too well there. Some of the lines are funny, but her delivery is very stilted when she’s going from a script.

    I can easily see how she could get annoying quickly in a movie. I’m not a fan, but I’m not really a hater either… but I do think she’s rapidly getting overexposed what with her late-night show, her TV show, TV shows from her roundtable comedians, and now this.

    • Yup. She dabble in vulgarity here too.

      Your comment matches up with what I just saw perfectly. And there were a couple of times it was funny, and then a couple others when I was like, ok, well, enough of this chick….

  3. I see you gentlemen require a woman’s perspective on Chelsea Handler’s character. All of us ladies have at least one very close girl friend that we go to for everything, especially when it concerns matters of the heart, so the writers called it perfectly on that one. I’ve had at least one that was a pretty close match to this character, which made it that much funnier to me. Most of the interactions between Tish and Lauren could easily have been ripped right from the pages of my life once upon a time.

    All in all I agree with your assessment of this movie. I was on the fence about the whole premise, but the trailers looked funny and my gal pal and I had a great laugh while watching it. Do I feel smarter or inspired as result? Probably not, but it sure was fun!

    • Ohhh I dunno, I understand that on a general level well enough.

      It… didnt make her a better character for me though. There were times when she made me laugh (putting the extra wine in her cart) and others when I was like, oh… please… make her stop.

      It wasn’t enough to throw me off from the whole flick though, it was fun. The three leads all enjoyed themselves, and that came through, to me. Not faring too well nationally (like 25% on RT), but, it is what it is.

      Thanks for posting up!! :D

  4. Could your enjoyment of the film be the “deviation effect” (my words, I’m sure there is a name for it), where you go into a movie with very high or very low expectations and come out of it well balanced? I have not seen this film and I am just speculating, because on occasion this has happened to me and am sure it happens to others. (more speculation) It is just a question, I am not discounting the value of the film itself.

    Chelsea Handler grates on me. Sometimes funny, mostly annoying.

    • Could be, could be.

      And you know, Ray? I dont know if there is a better term for that, I kind of like that one. I always speak to my expectations being “Right Sized”.

      I do always try to compensate for that, or address it in my reviews though, so that sharp readers – like yourself – can factor it in. ;)

      “Deviation effect”…

  5. I wasn’t going to bother with this movie, but you got me wondering about it now. Do you think “The Ladies” would like it ??

    • Yeahhh… LOL. I havent gotten to it, but I knew you gave this a favorable score too.

      Saw it in the Lambscores, LOL. Your comment was spot on. I’ll be by to check out your review in a bit, it’s been busy… in fact, I still havent finished up Ghost Rider, I gotta get crackin’.

  6. I wasn’t all that interested in seeing this from the trailer but I watched a clip of that paintball sequence where Tom Hardy goes gung-ho on all them wannabees and it gave me a good chuckle. I will definitely give it a rental down the road, it doesn’t look great but should make for some fun and forgettable entertainment :D Good review Dan!

  7. “This Means War” is a movie that’s sort of reminiscent of a “Mr and Mrs Smith” Lite. -Absolutely!

    and I agree with you 100% on Chelsea’s character.

    I was surprised when I began laughing at this one as well. Thanks for taking us on this trip with you. A fun review Dan!

  8. This film has got such polarised reviews from all over the interwebs. I think I knew, regardless, I was going to go and see it. It looks like fun. I think the combination of Tom Hardy and Chris Pine can wash out any annoying feelings I have toward Reese Witherspoon and Chelsea Handler. Chelsea’s fine – in small doses. Reese.. I just find her slightly grating these days!

    It’s not out here til next week.. so will report back when I’ve seen it!

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