Saturday, 4 February 2012
FILM REVIEW: THIS MEANS WAR
20th Century Fox Films
Love is battelfield, Pat Benatar famously sang, and when two best friends who also happen to be C.I.A. operatives clash over the same woman, it proves to be the case. But all is fair in love and war - with the emphasis on the latter.
Following a botched operation in Hong Kong, agents FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are assigned to desk duties. Tuck decides the forced down time might be a good time to seek out some romance, and signs up to an online dating service.
That's how he comes to meet Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), a product tester by day, who decides she also needs some loving following the news that her recent ex-boyfriend is now engaged to be married.
It's following her successful first date with Tuck that Lauren meets FDR (waiting in the wings should his buddy need rescuing) and sparks also fly. Pretty soon Lauren, encouraged by her incorrigable married friend, Trish (Chelsea Handler), is dating both men, unaware of their connection.
And soon enough, Tuck and FDR also become aware of the situation, but rather than FDR doing the honourable thing and ending his involvement, Tuck insists they both continue to date her - it won't affect their friendship.
Of course it does, and as things begin to heat up between each couple, tensions escalate between the once inseparable friends; each enlisting a trio of underling agents to spy on and undermine the others' romantic assignations with Lauren. Before long it's spy planes and sleeper darts at 20 paces.
If you've seen the trailer for This Means War then you've practically seen the entire film, for it reveals all but which man Lauren will eventually choose. Not that it matters. Witherspoon's Lauren seems to be the proxy through which Tuck and FDR can consummate their bromantic feelings for one another. Seriously, Freud would have a field day with these guys' relationship.
But director McG, and his four screenwriters, don't delve too deeply into that minefield, preferring to keep the laughs and action the focus of this rom-com. And surprisingly, it works. Pine and Hardy are both good fun (and easy on the eye), and Witherspoon is a good sport, even if any (lesser) actress could have filled the role.
Opening two days early on Valentine's Day, This Means War is a perfectly inoffensive if innocuous date night film.