This Means War (2012)

This Means War
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Sexual references, action violence and coarse language

Director: J McGinty Nichol
Actors: Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy, Chris Pine, Chelsea Handler, Laura Vandervoort, Abigail Spencer, Til Schweiger, Angela Bassett, David Koechner

Two of the world’s top secret agents are best friends who never let anything come between them - until they inadvertently fall for the same woman. It’s all-out war between them, as the two spies battle each other with high-tech surveillance, advanced tactics, and an arsenal capable of bringing down a small country, while simultaenously dealing with an international arms dealer. At the same time, she struggles with the difficult task of choosing between two very different, but equally attractive romantic propositions.

DVD
Status: QuickPick
Run time: 100mins
Origin: UNITED STATES
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Audio Formats: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
Under covers
by Simon Miraudo,

The creative team behind spy comedy This Means War might need to take a leaf out of the most recent Mission: Impossible’s book and initiate ‘Ghost Protocol’; they’ll no doubt need to drop off the grid and lay low in the weeks following the flick's release to hide from the annoyed moviegoers looking for a refund, if not murderous revenge. It's a credit, then, to the effervescent charm of stars Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and Tom Hardy that viewers might find their blood-lust subdued. Still, not even their innate magnetism, comic timing, and outrageous gorgeousness can make this 14-year-old screenplay seem fresh, nor can the execution be willed into excellence by the hypnotic blueness of their eyes. Director Joseph McGinty Nichol (or McG, as we know and love him) should consider himself l...

The creative team behind spy comedy This Means War might need to take a leaf out of the most recent Mission: Impossible’s book and initiate ‘Ghost Protocol’; they’ll no doubt need to drop off the grid and lay low in the weeks following the flick's release to hide from the annoyed moviegoers looking for a refund, if not murderous revenge. It's a credit, then, to the effervescent charm of stars Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, and Tom Hardy that viewers might find their blood-lust subdued. Still, not even their innate magnetism, comic timing, and outrageous gorgeousness can make this 14-year-old screenplay seem fresh, nor can the execution be willed into excellence by the hypnotic blueness of their eyes. Director Joseph McGinty Nichol (or McG, as we know and love him) should consider himself lucky that the final product is at least somewhat watchable, and hasn't totally self-destructed in his face.

Pine and Hardy star as U.S. secret agents (and BFFs, and potential romantic soul-mates) FDR and Tuck. The duo has no time for ladies, what with their busy schedule of fighting Eastern European terrorists and bro-ing out together. But Tuck - the more sensitive of the two - yearns for a woman's touch; something that the misogynistic FDR just can't provide. He signs up to an online dating site, and happens upon the profile of unlucky-in-love Lauren (Witherspoon). She agrees to meet him for lunch, and they hit it off immediately. However, Lauren's innocent first date with Tuck is coincidentally followed by an antagonistic meet-cute with FDR at a nearby video store (where, in the film's biggest leap in logic, they both try to grab that terrible remake of The Vanishing).

Several dates later, the boys realise they’re wooing the same woman. Though a little flustered, they agree to continue their courtship, and promise to stand aside politely when Lauren finally makes her choice between the two. Their gentleman’s agreement does not last long at all, and soon they’re employing all kinds of covert tricks to knock the other fellow out of contention. This includes everything from breaking into and bugging Lauren's house so they might study her - thank you Patriot Act - to tranquilising one another and delaying any potential hot and heavy under-the-covers action. Meanwhile, totally unsuspecting good girl Lauren is struggling to come to terms with the concept of dating two guys at once, for which her crass older sister Trish (Chelsea Handler) is wildly jealous. The audience, however, is not once jealous of anyone in the film for spending this much time with Handler, whose venomous lines are unceasingly screeched at poor Witherspoon. Trish seems to be the picture's sexual conscience, and that is indeed terrifying.

Credited screenwriters Simon Kinberg and Timothy Dowling are only two of the chefs responsible for spoiling the broth; there are reports of at least five other writers working on drafts. In the script's 14-year existence, actors as diverse as Martin Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Seth Rogen, Justin Timberlake and Sam Worthington have all been attached to star. We should be thankful, I suppose, that genuinely appealing and not-yet-overexposed rising stars Chris Pine and Tom Hardy scored the lead roles (particularly Hardy, who gets to play 'adorable', which is a far cry from his work in Bronson, Warrior, and, we presume, The Dark Knight Rises). But inventive casting does not make up for uninspired filmmaking.

Let it be noted that McG is responsible for at least one fun, frothy film about sexy spies trying to balance their love-lives with the demands of saving the world from destruction: Charlie’s Angels. Disappointingly, he was unable to replicate the magic in the sequel, and the same can be said for This Means War. So long as it was nice to look at, occasionally thrilling, and provided consistent laughs, it would be an achievement (no one is expecting Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy here). It fails on all three fronts. Allow me to break each element down, lazily, and elaborate (if the film isn't going to work hard, then neither am I).

Looks: Despite the stars’ prettiness, the picture itself has a cheap, green-screen veneer throughout. Also, the composition of conversational sequences feels stagey, as if McG isn't quite sure how to depict people merely having a chat without something blowing up behind them. Thrills: The antagonist (Til Schweiger) is one of the least threatening in recent memory, and is totally uninvolved in the narrative’s momentum. A mid-movie paintball match provides an adrenaline-infused high point, but, unsurprisingly, it has little to do with the plot. Laughs: Witherspoon, Pine and Hardy gamely deliver the “jokes”, but they’re not quite punchy enough (and oft drowned out by Handler’s aggressively unpleasant diatribes about sexual politics and her terrible marriage). A film with this solid a trio of performers and this ripe a premise shouldn’t have to work so hard for such little reward.

2.5/5

Check out Simon's other reviews here.

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Member Reviews (68)

lounge lizard
says
Just ok, because Reece is pleasing on the eye. It was all I expected from the synopsis.
Posted Wednesday, 22 October 2014 See my other reviews
Qbles
says
I loved the irreverent humour in this movie, and the rapport between the main cast was great. I personally thought Reese was good in this, although I'm not a huge fan - and Chris and Tom were fantastic, as well as having a cool bromance
Posted Sunday, 15 June 2014 See my other reviews
E
says
A few funny moments but overall disappointing.
Posted Monday, 28 April 2014 See my other reviews
Bugsy
says
Oh Reese what are you doing in rubbish like this; loved you in "Walk the Line" and "Water for Elephants", but this is unfunny poorly scripted trash directed by the talentless McG of "Charlies Angels" fame (or infamy)
Posted Tuesday, 15 April 2014 See my other reviews
cossie
says
better than I thought it would be
Posted Wednesday, 19 March 2014 See my other reviews
Really bad.
Posted Wednesday, 29 January 2014 See my other reviews
Paul
says
Awful
Posted Wednesday, 27 November 2013 See my other reviews
Pdawg
says
So So funny, we really enjoyed it
Posted Tuesday, 19 November 2013 See my other reviews
ok no brainer
Posted Friday, 1 November 2013 See my other reviews
christinej
says
Fun movie, easy watching for all family members.
Posted Friday, 2 August 2013 See my other reviews
The wife liked it
Posted Friday, 3 May 2013 See my other reviews
Danilala90
says
LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS MOVIE, i actually originally watched this movie at the cinemas with my partner and both he and i loved it, have now watched this DVD several times! and only got it two days ago! have to send it back soon :(
Posted Sunday, 7 April 2013 See my other reviews
renata
says
modern twist. enjoyable movie. both my husband and I liked this one. get it!
Posted Friday, 5 April 2013 See my other reviews
cjbutzy
says
excellent, very funny
Posted Wednesday, 27 March 2013 See my other reviews
Katy
says
Really enjoyed watching this movie
Posted Monday, 25 March 2013 See my other reviews
Not as bad as I thought it would be. That probably had a lot to do with the presence of Tom Hardy.
Posted Saturday, 23 March 2013 See my other reviews
LuthienNienna
says
Horrible. Do yourself a favour and skip this one. I had read the awful reviews but thought I would give it a chance. Big mistake.
Posted Tuesday, 19 March 2013 See my other reviews
Enjoyable show, light hearted.
Posted Monday, 4 March 2013 See my other reviews
Ros M
says
Extremely entertaining and different.
Posted Monday, 18 February 2013 See my other reviews
p
says
watched this with my sons and enjoyed it immensely. something for everyone.
Posted Tuesday, 12 February 2013 See my other reviews
Johnson
says
My biggest concern is that Chris Pine's forehead may one day overbalance the planet.
Posted Sunday, 20 January 2013 See my other reviews
Joseph
says
Another fun movie with perennial cute and funny chick Reese Witherspoon. Captain Kirk and Bane also star and have some funny moments but Reese, as always, steals the show. Worth a watch.
Posted Tuesday, 15 January 2013 See my other reviews
Gregory
says
Utterly aweful, gives fun a bad name. Makes inane exciting.
Posted Saturday, 5 January 2013 See my other reviews
Jacinta
says
Love Reese, but what a disappointing character for her to play. Part entertaining, mostly frustrating and so the wrong choice of guy in the end. Who would ever choose Chris what's his name over the amazing Tom Hardy?!!!
Posted Friday, 4 January 2013 See my other reviews
HeatherQ
says
What a waste.
Posted Thursday, 20 December 2012 See my other reviews
Jane
says
I thought it would be a fun movie with Reese Witherspoon only to be horribly disappointed. Boring story line, the worst of slick hollywood production and even Reese's pretty face could not save it from being tedious and boring.
Posted Wednesday, 12 December 2012 See my other reviews
Cairo49
says
Well, this was a total waste of time. I really like Tom Hardy and Reece Witherspoon (I can't stand Chris Pine) - but even they couldn't save this turkey. Totally ridiculous and silly and unfunny and none of the characters are even particularly likeable, although Tom's character was definitely the nicer of the two. If you met any of these people in real life you would run a mile. A big comedown for Reece and Tom - they can both do so much better.
Posted Thursday, 22 November 2012 See my other reviews
Miss Penny
says
I usually love action movies, and comedy, and rom com. This was terrible. Tom Hardy and Chris Pine are great, but it was incredibly shallow, stupid and annoying. And I want to like all the movies I see.
Posted Tuesday, 20 November 2012 See my other reviews
Orange_alli
says
Fun movie to watch. Predictable but enjoyable and funny.
Posted Wednesday, 14 November 2012 See my other reviews
Janice
says
This was an excellent movie with all the action of a spy movie with a twist of humor as the two best spy mates let a woman come between them. I could easily watch this again.
Posted Sunday, 11 November 2012 See my other reviews
Comical and enjoyable ending a little predictable though
Posted Friday, 2 November 2012 See my other reviews
Livingwell13
says
Very funny movie. Loved it. I thought the end was bit abrupt and a bit unbelievable but at least everyone wound up happy which is good. It was a bit over the top but I laughed out loud quite a few times. The two male leads were very nice to look at which is always a bonus. Good way to spend a couple of hours.
Posted Friday, 2 November 2012 See my other reviews
Zel
says
Pretty weak. Reese Witherspoon pulls it off and is the best part of the movie, the two blokes are shocking. This is a full on chick flick. I barely made it to the end.
Posted Monday, 29 October 2012 See my other reviews
chookey
says
A litle different and enough to hold my interest. Bit quirky. Light and enjoyed it but not a rave.
Posted Wednesday, 24 October 2012 See my other reviews
Not a great movie, very slow, acting is poor. Definitely would not recommend this movie
Posted Tuesday, 16 October 2012 See my other reviews
Jess
says
easy viewing, good story
Posted Wednesday, 10 October 2012 See my other reviews
Lisa
says
I wasnt expecting this to be so funny but it had me laughing out loud lots of times. It was a lot better than I thought it would be.
Posted Sunday, 23 September 2012 See my other reviews
Scotchmick
says
It was good enough fun.
Posted Friday, 21 September 2012 See my other reviews
Brian
says
An enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. Neither a great action movie, or a great comedy but manages to have enough of each to make it well worth watching. I thought Chelsea Handler was probably the funniest of all - just like her talk show. You almost think they said to her "just make the lines up as you go" as it certainly worked. Chris Pine was OK although never quite reaching the acting level of his 'StarTrek' performance. Reece Witherspoon was perfectly cast and does a good job. Tom Hardy OK without being believable - but then again, the plot is not believable and as long as you hire it as a 'not to be taken seriously in any fashion' type of movie, there is enough happening to keep both the boys and the girls happy. Some of the stunts are worthy of a Bond or Bourne movie. Recommended.
Posted Wednesday, 19 September 2012 See my other reviews
Sybil
says
Could have been so good just didn't make it.
Posted Tuesday, 4 September 2012 See my other reviews
Purplesue
says
Fast forwarded a lot of it. Very predictable and next to no storyline. A bit of a waste of time............
Posted Tuesday, 4 September 2012 See my other reviews
Kyliep
says
Predictable romcom. The characters were underdeveloped and hard to care about.
Posted Sunday, 2 September 2012 See my other reviews
Sarah
says
Loved it. So funny, finally a chick flick that blokes will enjoy!!! Put it on you list guys
Posted Friday, 31 August 2012 See my other reviews
Peta
says
Great movie. Light hearted and easy to watch.
Posted Thursday, 30 August 2012 See my other reviews
Case
says
Found it really funny, ending was a little predictable
Posted Wednesday, 29 August 2012 See my other reviews
Jason
says
Turned it off after fifteen minutes and only lasted that long because I thought my girlfriend was watching it. Absolutely horrible script trying to pass itself off as something other than the second-rate rom-com it it. I expected better from everyone involved. Won't make that mistake again.
Posted Monday, 27 August 2012 See my other reviews
Was really funny and easy to watch, was a lot better than what i expected.
Posted Friday, 24 August 2012 See my other reviews
kimbo
says
Two top CIA operatives wage an epic battle against one another after they discover they are dating the same woman. The worst movie I have seen this year. Absolute garbage
Posted Tuesday, 21 August 2012 See my other reviews
LisaL
says
This movie was jamm packed full of action and love. My boys enjoyed it also.
Posted Monday, 20 August 2012 See my other reviews
Dont worry
Posted Sunday, 12 August 2012 See my other reviews
If I could give this film minus stars, I would. Terrible, terrible. The pacing is awful, the colour is glary and has way too many solar flares. There are huge holes and unexplained elements in the story line - won't they get into trouble for using all of that spy equipment? Or for blowing up a drone? (which usually cost millions of dollars each!) How does one of them get phone reception when he's about to jump out of a plane? How can they continue to be spys when thir faces have been plastered all over national television? Awful. Don't put yourself through it.
Posted Wednesday, 8 August 2012 See my other reviews
Kate
says
The perfect mix of action, comedy and Rese Witherspoon. A great, fun movie
Posted Sunday, 5 August 2012 See my other reviews
John
says
ah I liked it. I workout while I watch movies and this one was and A-grade workout movie.
Posted Tuesday, 31 July 2012 See my other reviews
louise
says
Ok...
Posted Tuesday, 31 July 2012 See my other reviews
Paul
says
It's an action-comedy but it's also a chick-flick. A good date movie.
Posted Monday, 30 July 2012 See my other reviews
Marg
says
Not bad for a laugh but couldn't be more unrealistic if they'd tried! Okay film but wouldn't rave about it.
Posted Monday, 30 July 2012 See my other reviews
Melzy
says
Really well done :o) ... perfect movie if your doing the whole first time dinner movie date at home ... A bit for everyone .. certainly a few good diaphragm excercising laughs!
Posted Saturday, 28 July 2012 See my other reviews
andrea
says
i loved this it had it all action and comedy and a good storyline.Really enjoyable best movie i have seen in a long time.
Posted Friday, 27 July 2012 See my other reviews
Shane
says
Quite good ,interesting twist on CIA/spy movie. Some very funny bits.
Posted Monday, 23 July 2012 See my other reviews
Johno
says
The girls will love the interaction between Lauren and FDR and Tuck while for us guys there is plenty of action with some comedy along the way, Oh yeah watch the Extras as well, all in all I liked it for what it is - fun.
Posted Thursday, 19 July 2012 See my other reviews
JaneS
says
Ridiculous!
Posted Wednesday, 18 July 2012 See my other reviews
Shep
says
Not bad. Believed the friendship between the two guys more than I did either possible 'relationship'. Laughed a few times with some of their exchanges.
Posted Monday, 16 July 2012 See my other reviews
Goldie78
says
I was really surprised to see so many good reviews for this movie. For me it really missed the mark - I felt like it should have been a good movie but was missing something. The cast were excellent but I just didn't engage with the characters at all - it probably didn't help that I found myself not particularly liking any of them (again not the actors fault you can only do so much with what you're given). I had been really looking forward to this movie so was really disappointed. I only kept watching it because Tom Hardy is so pretty to look at!
Posted Monday, 16 July 2012 See my other reviews
Ann E.
says
Fun, Fun, Fun this is a perfect movie for both Wives & Husbands, enough romance to please the 'chick flick' lover and plenty of spy/high tech, speed chase action for the males. We also enjoyed watching the extras with additional scenes and alternative endings. A great movie to sit on the couch curled up together with glass of wine AND a beer! ! ! ! Highly recommended.
Posted Friday, 13 July 2012 See my other reviews
jtbug
says
An enjoyable action comedy. The leads are likeable and Reese Witherspoon is great to watch. Light entertainment that is extremely convoluted, but it does it so well it's hard not to be charmed silly.
Posted Thursday, 12 July 2012 See my other reviews
MichelleB
says
loved it was a good laugh,for both and not a chick flick :)
Posted Sunday, 8 July 2012 See my other reviews
Julia
says
Cheesy yes, but still worth the watch! Bit of romance for the girls with some action chucked on for the boys! I loved it and so did hubby!
Posted Friday, 6 July 2012 See my other reviews
Marcie
says
Amazing film, if slightly cheesy! But I love the two mains!
Posted Sunday, 1 July 2012 See my other reviews
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