“This Means War”
This thing is neither fish nor fowl.
It tries to be both an action movie and a romantic comedy, somehow
simultaneously, but not surprisingly, it has a little difficulty sustaining
believability when it so easily flip-flops between one mode and another.
After a while, we just get the impression that it’s all just a big
act, which of course it is, but somehow it lacks something along the lines of
the necessary suspension of disbelief.
FDR Foster (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom
Hardy) are a couple of American CIA agents (though Tuck is British) who have
passed themselves off as “travel agents” as a cover for their forays into
exotic locales on behalf of swashbuckling antics for “The Company.”
They are best buds, and they un-self-consciously profess their love for
one another. And with each other, at
least, they always know somebody’s got their back.
Until a woman comes between them.
They’re both single, and somehow manage to meet the same woman at the
same time, unbeknownst to each other: at
least for a while. Lauren (Reese
Witherspoon) owns her own consumer product evaluation company, and is busy and
important, but somewhat lonely. She has
a best friend, Trish (Chelsea Handler), but no love life to speak of---except
now she has double trouble.
The guys quickly figure out that
they’re interested in the same woman, but decide to keep this from Lauren,
making a pact that “may the best man win.”
They then proceed---and here’s part of the comic antics----to
use/abuse their investigative/monitoring authority to keep tabs on each
other’s progress in the dating relationship.
And what they don’t learn from illegal surveillance, they find out
through Lauren’s wiretapped interaction with Trish.
In the meantime, the bad guy is an
international terrorist who somehow gets connected to all this because he’s
looking for some personal leverage against these agents.
All of this might have played more realistically in other hands, but
here, it’s comical to the point of farcical.
In the end, we have a hard time believing either in the integrity of
the romances or the reality of their workplaces.
So we just settle for cute and stagey and forget about trying to go any
deeper than that.
“This Means War” is the chick flick
rom-com trying to add some action sequences to somehow make it appealing to
the dates the chicks are dragging to see it, but in trying to make everyone
happy they probably come closer to pleasing no one.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor,
St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,