This Means War
Spy vs. Spy

Most people know that Chris Pine played Captain James T. Kirk in the latest Star Trek movie, but few will remember that Tom Hardy played a clone of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Nemesis.  Therefore, their new action/romance/comedy film This Means War is the closest thing we’ve had to a Kirk/Picard showdown since they appeared together in Star Trek: Generations.  What does this mean for This Means War?  Nothing, really, but unfortunately that’s about the only thing interesting about this movie, one that fails as both romantic comedy and as an action movie.

Pine and Hardy play FDR and Tuck, respectively, CIA-agent partners and best friends who take a completely different approach to relationships.  Tuck is a divorced man looking for his next serious relationship, while FDR is just looking for his next score.  After a mission ends badly, the two find themselves grounded with a lot of free time.  Tuck decides to try his luck at Internet dating, meets Lauren, and they hit it off immediately.  On the way home from their first date, Lauren is approached by FDR.  She’s not as instantly taken by him, but FDR works his magic and manages to make a date.

When the two men realize that they are pursuing the same woman, they set up a gentlemen’s agreement to play it fair and let the best man win… then they each immediately start trying to sabotage the other’s chances using the many spy tools at their disposal.  While all of this is going on, their target in the opening mission arrives in the States looking to avenge his brother’s death.

Reese Witherspoon as Lauren in This Means WarIt is a very bad sign when you walk out of a movie and the first thing you start to wonder is whether the filmmakers were intentionally making a bad movie.  Nevertheless, that thought crosses your mind after seeing This Means War.  It is bad from the start as the opening action sequence is poorly shot and edited, failing to generate an ounce of excitement.  For this reason, it is a good thing that the movie focuses less on its action elements and more on the spy vs. spy love triangle.

Although the spy-themed romantic comedy portion of the movie is still far from great, it does provide a few moments of entertainment.  There’s a cleverly shot sequence in which Reese Witherspoon, as Lauren, dances around her house completely unaware that her two suitors are placing surveillance devices right under her nose.  There’s also a funny scene when Tuck tries to prove to Lauren that he’s more than just the “safe” pick by completely obliterating some kids at paintball.  There is some more charm to the movie, but it is very inconsistent.

That is because the filmmaking itself is inconsistent.  The editing is very strange at times, including some awkward scene transitions, and the timing often seems to be off.  Also, continuity errors are glaring as actors hands tend to be in different places from shot to shot.

As for the performances, Chris Pine and Reese Witherspoon are fine, but far from spectacular, while Chelsea Handler has some funny lines in the somewhat clichéd role of Lauren’s best friend.  As for Tom Hardy, there is nothing really wrong with his performance—aside from the continuity errors—but he just seems out of place.  It is almost as if it is too normal of a character for the actor who will next be seen going toe-to-toe with Batman as Bane in The Dark Knight Rises.  There is also a lack of any kind of chemistry between any of the lead characters.

There’s nothing really wrong with the concept of This Means War, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired.

This Means War is rated PG-13 for “sexual content including references, some violence and action, and for language.”  The movie was originally rated R, but after cutting some of Chelsea Handler’s more graphic dialogue, it got reduced to PG-13.  There’s still some pretty risqué stuff in there, though.

Courtesy of a local publicist, Jeff attended a promotional screening of This Means War.