This Means War

February 18, 2012 by staff 

This Means War, Having great-looking stars who have the added bonus of actually being able to act makes the noisy romp “This Means War” more tolerable that it ought to be.

It’s essentially a love-triangle version of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” rendered even more bombastic in the hands of “Charlie’s Angels” director McG. (Simon Kinberg, who wrote the 2005 film that spawned Brangelina, shares script credit here with Timothy Dowling.) So you’ve got your sport utility vehicles tumbling in slow motion, your gravity-defying shootouts and your obligatory explosions galore.

Naturally, the premise is the most high-concept, contrived confection: Two CIA agents (Chris Pine and Tom Hardy) who happen to be best friends also happen to fall in love with the same woman (Reese Witherspoon), who has no idea these guys know each other. They promise their shared pursuit won’t ruin their friendship, but good luck with all that.

Screwball and high-tech, “This Means War” aims to provide laughs and thrills at the same time, and only intermittently achieves its goals. Still, the sight of Pine and Hardy one-upping each other for Witherspoon’s affections through ridiculously elaborate dates and outright stalking (with the help of government resources) has its amusing moments. It also sets up the singular great shot in the entire film, in which the two suitors skulk around her apartment, trying to avoid her (and each other) as they hide their surveillance equipment and hunt for intel on her likes and dislikes.

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