This Means War

6 Mar

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This Means War see’s two best friends and colleagues fight it out for the affections of one woman. We’re introduced to Tuck (Tom Hardy) and ‘FDR’ Foster (Chris Pine) during a ‘covert’ mission to stop an international criminal obtaining a weapon of mass destruction. Their mission doesn’t go quite according to plan though, ending up as a stylish roof-top shootout that allows their target to escape. So, from the outset, there’s a dangerous criminal roaming free. Something to keep at the back of your mind there.

We’re soon introduced to our third key protagonist, Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), the lady that will go on to indirectly cause all sorts of trouble for the next 100 minutes or so.

Tuck, it turns out, isn’t much of a ladies man. He has a failed marriage and a son he see’s little of. Apparently he doesn’t go on dates very often. His best mate FDR though is painted as something of a womaniser. He regularly ‘slays his targets’, we’re told (referring to both his approach to dating and his work in foiling international terrorists. Isn’t that a clever and hilarious play on words? Well…no).

Fate dictates that Lauren will walk into the lives of Tuck and FDR on the same day, in different places, and that they’ll both fall for her immediately. When the boys next meet up, they find out they’ve both got the same love interest, and so the plot becomes ridiculous.

Rather than deciding that it is unreasonable to both date the same woman without her knowing, the boys decide instead that they’ll compete for her love. It’s a path well trodden by many a sitcom, and this film adds nothing new to an already established formula.

Despite having a major criminal at large, the lads decide to invest all of their CIA resources into spying on each others dates, making increasingly outlandish moves to enhance their own date-ability, and sabotage the others. Predictably, things become strained between the two.

Unfortunately, This Means War is a difficult film to invest any level of belief in right from the outset. Besides it’s absurd plot, Hardy, Pine and Witherspoon are all a little too polished and, frankly, too good-looking to believe their problems. Without wanting to sound shallow, anybody who looks at Tom Hardy here and believes he’s a man who’s struggling to attract the ladies has an ability to suspend belief that I envy. Add to that the fact that they’re all rich with impeccable dress-sense and expensive looking homes and you’ll soon find that there isn’t a whole lot here to relate to.

In fairness, none of the actors can really be faulted; They all put in adequate performances and deliver what their roles demand. Sadly for them, the characters are all too one-dimensional. Tuck is the only character afforded any real depth here, and it’s a credit to Tom Hardy that he manages to stand out over the glossy production and mediocre script. For all that the story is ridiculous, Hardy really gets into the role. He’s not a natural comic actor so don’t expect to be laughing out loud, but you do feel a little bit of sympathy for him when things aren’t going his way.

An area where the film deserves some positive recognition is it’s action sequences. Although it takes a back seat to the love triangle, there is still a terrorist to deal with so we’re treated to a few shoot-out and explosions. They all look fine and are well choreographed.

Overall, This Means War isn’t a terrible film. It’s just that it’s all been done before many times, and is largely predictable. We get average dialogue, littered with meaningless non-sentiment. (At one point, Lauren is advised “Don’t choose the better guy, choose the guy who’ll make you better girl”. It sounds like a Facebook group set up by a 13 year old girl. It’s cheesy rubbish).

For a romance, it is strangely short on emotion; For a comedy, it’s disappointingly short on laughs. For all it’s faults though, if you want something mindless to watch on a lazy Sunday afternoon, you could do worse than This Means War.

6/10

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2 Responses to “This Means War”

  1. biggreenjelly March 7, 2013 at 18:22 #

    What will Ryan say when he reads you talking about Tom Hardy like that?

    I don’t think I missed anything by avoiding this film. It looked like the sort that would have me ranting but your review has made me consider watching it if it’s ever on TV and I’m not busy or out or have watched all my DVDs or if the TV remote doesn’t work.

  2. 1894tony March 8, 2013 at 05:53 #

    based on your review it will have to be monsoon season before I watch it!

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