February 21, 2012

Movie Review: This Means War

I cannot say that I had high hopes for This Means War, but I can say I hoped to be somewhat entertained. After all, it has a decent cast of players who can generally act pretty decently, a director who knows his way around over the top excess, and a premise that felt somewhat fresh. Well, the end result was a mishmash of decent execution, bad writing, and mediocre entertainment. I would be lying if I said I did not enjoy it, but I would also be lying if I said it was something I felt the desire to experience again.

The idea is one that has been played out in a variety of ways over the years. You have two men interested in the same woman and they must compete for her affections. This simplistic premise is amped up on fake Red Bull fueled excess by making the two men best friends and also a pair of top CIA operatives with a
penchant for blowing stuff up. Think of Lethal Weapon 3, but with both Riggs and Murtagh pursuing Renee Russo.

Are you still with me? All right. The two guys are somewhat challenged in love with one being a father who still dotes on his ex, Tuck (Tom Hardy), and the other being a seemingly hopeless playboy, FDR (yes, that is the characters first name, played by Chris Pine). Their story starts with a somewhat botched undercover mission that sees many bullets fly and an undesirable body count. One of the surviving bad guys now wants to track them down for revenge. This will inevitably lead to an explosive/hostage situation at the climax. Right?

On the other side of the coin is Reese Witherspoon as Lauren, newly returned to the dating market, unsure of herself, and suddenly finds herself dating two men. Her job is to juggle the two and make a decision, all while Tuck and FDR compete for her affections using the full resources of a CIA field office to learn about what she likes, while also engaging each other in all matter of fisticuffs. All this with the threat of the bad guy from earlier looming on the horizon.

This Means War is beyond shallow. These characters are all of the "what you see is what you get" variety. The guys fight, blow stuff up, and pull tricks on each trying to get the paper hand. She frets about the decision. That sums it up.

McG directs with a certain flashy energy. It when it comes right down to it, it is a hollow exercise in excess. Everyone mugs for the camera, lots of other stuff gets blown up and in the end it goes the only way I can. It doesn't really allow for any real thought.

I am not sure what else to really say about this. It is not a movie that gives a lot to think about nor that much to really want to discuss. Basically, if you want a diversion this will fill the bill, just don't expect to really care about it one way or the other when all is said and done. I am left wanting to watch the main three in other, better movies.

Oh, let me also just say the title is terrible. Couldn't they come with something a bit better?

Very Mildly Recommended.


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