The spy genre goes romantic comedy in the latest release by action flick prince McG. This Means War tells the story of two best friends Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine) who also happen to be CIA operatives at the top of their game. Tuck has an ex-wife and small son Joe and hasn’t really been on the dating circuit for a while, whereas FDR never really leaves the circuit as he is a ladies man through and through. One day, fed up with feeling lonely, Tuck joins an internet dating site and meets up with Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) who, after being cheated on by her ex and constantly running into him, needs to get back out into the dating pool herself. They have a fantastic date, the chemistry is right and on leaving she thinks about Tuck while going to her local video rental store. Who does she then meet by chance? FDR. What then ensues is a full-on war between both men as they soon realise they are dating the same girl and it becomes not only a battle between best friends but spy versus spy.
McG is great at this type of film, think Charlie’s Angels mixed with something more for the men – more spy CIA action sequences, car chases and guns. All elements are here including something for the ladies – humour, good looking men and the adorable Reese Witherspoon (who all women simply cannot hate because she is just too cute). You clearly have to suspend a lot of belief in regards to the plot line as, mixed in with the love triangle is a sub plot about a terrorist type character wanting revenge against the two agents over the mishap death of his brother. You almost forget that the sub plot has anything to do with the film because it’s so flimsy. Not that it really matters –This Means War is a clever and funny action film that will tick a lot of boxes for a lot of people.
This Means War is a somewhat strange film to see someone like Tom Hardy in, if only because he doesn’t quite fit the same heart-throb mould as Pine (that’s not to say that he isn’t one by any means). Pine has done the rom-com, teen comedies – Just My Luck, Blind Dating – and has yet to find that role that propels him into recognised acting talent. It is welcoming to see Hardy keeping his British accent, with it actually adding to a lot of the humour in the script that just wouldn’t have been as funny if they were both American agents. Hardy has a cute, rugged likeability factor and, after this, his fan base will increase and move on from being the man’s man actor that he is.
Pine is watchable, suave and charismatic, if not a little bit too smooth and sultry. Despite this however, it is his character that seems to be the one having the journey in this film which is fine – if both leads were the same the film just wouldn’t work as well. Witherspoon is a delight as always. She is just a pint-sized pack of comedy fun and beauty. Always being fought over and having to decide between two guys can’t be a bad role to play.
The action sequences in this film are impressive as are all the ways the two men try and outdo each other. In some ways it is hard to believe that Lauren doesn’t cotton to the strange behaviour, especially when it starts full blown raining in an apartment. Also, throughout the film Pine’s name FDR was always a little puzzling, surely that sounds like a CIA code name?
Chelsea Handler plays Lauren’s best friend, Trish, and her only advice point in the film. She was given a lot of freedom with her dialogue and most of her lines were ad-libbed. She is potty-mouth most of the time and, as a bored housewife who loves her husband and kids, wants to live a bit of excitement through Lauren’s dilemma.
This Means War is a fast paced, humour filled comedy with a touch of romance thrown in that makes it the perfect date night film for everyone. It really does tick all the boxes for any audience member. It makes you laugh more than you think it would and, in many ways, is very refreshing.
Best line: Trish – ‘You get out there, you get flexible’.
Best scene: When Lauren is fixing her popcorn and singing to Warren G.