This Means War—movie review

Reviews
by Leonard Maltin
February 17, 2012 1:00 AM
7 Comments
  • |

Judging by the evidence, it isn’t easy making a good romantic comedy, even if it has a high-concept premise like this one: two best friends (Chris Pine and Tom Hardy) who put their lives on the line as CIA operatives fall in love, quite by chance, with the same woman (Reese Witherspoon). This unforeseen rivalry escalates to the point that they summon all the technology (and manpower) at their command to engage in a massive game of one-upmanship, while the woman in question remains blissfully unaware of what’s going on.

Such a movie depends on the charisma of its stars and a certain lightness of touch. Witherspoon has her part down. She’s bright and fun, and turns to her (inevitable) best friend for advice, in this case Chelsea Handler, whose raunchy dialogue was apparently toned down to get the movie a PG-13 rating. Pine and Hardy fill their roles serviceably well; it’s easy to see why Witherspoon is attracted to them both, and they’re credible as rough-and-ready agents who would take a bullet for each other.

How well you like the end result, credited to screenwriters Timothy Dowling and Simon Kinberg, from a story by Dowling and Marcus Gautesen, will depend on how much you like the stars—and how hungry you are for escapist entertainment. Director McG certainly keeps things moving. I was ready to go along for the ride, there not being a great deal at stake, but I lost heart, and interest, as the proceedings grew sillier with each new scene. (I would like to find the video store where Pine meets Witherspoon and monitors are showing films like Ernst Lubitsch’s Heaven Can Wait…but I wouldn’t take the actress’ assessment of Hitchcock films too seriously.)

Still, moviegoers crave light entertainment, especially with a romantic angle, and This Means War may be just good enough to please its target audience…at least until something better comes along.

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7 Comments

  • jingmei | June 17, 2012 8:34 AMReply

    Just was this This Means War, have to mention disspointed about the kinda shitty ending since if I were in the situation of the woman who bans two dudes at the same time, gonna choose Tom Hardy just he is damn hot, Chris Pine is not my type so doubt about the pathetic taste of Reese Witherspoon or for some reason just because Tome Hardy is Brit, whom I just prefer.

  • Brendan | February 25, 2012 10:56 PMReply

    Maltin is a saggy d-bag. He often judges actors on his own slanted opinion, rather than the work. I read a summary of an actor's work, where Maltin said the actor was "too stolid and humorless to do comedy." Really? So now we're judging actors for roles they haven't even DONE yet? What an ass. I am not getting on him because he's old and tired - I love critics with many years under their belt who do this well, but he's so delusional and has been all this career.

  • mike schlesinger | March 21, 2012 3:46 PM

    No, you judge an actor by what he has done so far. Would you cast Steven Seagal as King Lear? Or Jessica Simpson as Amanda Wingfield? Or Russell Crowe and Ralph Fiennes as The Odd Couple? Well, yeah, you probably would. Sorry, but the opinions of punk-ass kids who've never heard of Cary Grant carry far less weight than those of Leonard, who has proven over and over again that he knows far better than most what he's talking about.

  • John | February 24, 2012 4:37 AMReply

    I really cannot imagine any possible reason why you'd feel compelled to write that. These reviews are some of the most concise on the internet, and his opinions are typically fair and articulate. If you feel his reviews aren't relevant to your life, stop visiting his site. But for the sake of those of us who enjoy reading the insights of a legend like Maltin, please grow up.

  • EDS | February 18, 2012 5:13 PMReply

    Chelsea Handler is as useless as you're reviews have become (well, ALMOST)!

  • Taylor | March 13, 2012 5:17 AM

    your* .... so useless that you find yourself still reading them? Maltin has an informed opinion that he backs up with insight. Unlike you, who hopelessly tries to prove a point with a mis spelling and an excuse of a simile.

  • John | February 24, 2012 4:38 AM

    I really cannot imagine any possible reason why you'd feel compelled to write that. These reviews are some of the most concise on the internet, and his opinions are typically fair and articulate. If you feel his reviews aren't relevant to your life, stop visiting his site. But for the sake of those of us who enjoy reading the insights of a legend like Maltin, please grow up.

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