Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy, Chris Pine
I am not a big fan of rom-coms: to me they are far too slushy and cringe-worthy, with self-pitying characters that make you want to take a pin and stab both your eyes out like Oedipus – not because of the incest, but the shame of momentarily enjoying something that you know deep down you shouldn’t. However I had high hopes for This Means War as it has the brilliant Tom Hardy in it, who happens to be one of my favourite actors, who is accompanied by Captain Kirk himself, Chris Pine. Both Hardy and Pine play secret agents and best friends who happen to fall for the same woman, Lauren Scott, played by the gorgeous – and seemingly eternally young – Reese Witherspoon. Unsure which of the two she should date, Lauren decides to take the advice of her overtly sexually promiscuous friend and date both men at the same time in a hope to decide which one is right for her.
I wouldn’t exactly call this film a rom-com, as it isn’t especially romantic – not that I am a Casanova or anything (although I have had my moments). It’s just that you know that one of the guys is going to win the woman over at the end, the other will lose, or she will walk away and let them get on with it. Basically, no one will win in a love triangle. The only way that this would work is if Lauren was hit by a bus or taken out with some elaborate espionage technology to punish her for playing two guys for a fool, thus removing the problem and allowing the friends to continue killing terrorists and watching American Football with beer as friends should do. Yet there are some funny moments in this film: admittedly they are not amazing jokes, but what more do you expect from a rom-com. Both Hardy and Pine have good chemistry together, and that is evident from the way in which they bounce lines off each another. The linguistic jousting between them and the one-upmanship attitude they both have is quite enjoyable to watch, which combined with their physicality makes them two very likeable characters.
However I did think to myself while watching the film: would I watch this if the cast was full of unknown stars? The truth is I probably wouldn’t bother. For starters we have Bane and Captain Kirk fighting over Elle Woods, which I think most people would be slightly intrigued to see played out on the big screen – although the linguistic jousting that I praised would be along the lines of: ‘Who was that pointy-eared bastard?’ and ‘zsxdiue slfj dj ejd askie djdjs’. So maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but with a cast this good, anyone could have predicted this film would do well at cinemas. One of the main saving graces of the film is the actions sequences, which I thought would be dwarfed by the central love triangle plot. However there as some great shootouts, car chases and hand to hand combat that is choreographed well and executed brilliantly by the two lead characters. I only wished there had been more of it.
So overall I found the film endurable but not amazing. The acting was good but the story line was weak and tiresome. If you are going to go and see this film go with a member of the opposite sex, as this is the perfect date movie: it is not too serious, it has good looking actors and actress for both of you to fantasise over, and it is something that you will enjoy talking about after – even if you loved or hated it.
So what did you think of This Means War? Do you think I am being harsh? Comment below or contact me via twitter.