This Means War
PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
CIA agents and best friends FDR Foster (Chris Pine) and Tuck Hansen (Tom Hardy) are deployed to Hong Kong to prevent international criminal Heinrich from acquiring a weapon of mass destruction, but the mission goes awry, resulting in the death of Heinrich’s brother Jonas and Heinrich swearing revenge against them. For their protection, their boss, Collins (Angela Bassett), assigns them to desk duty upon returning to America.
FDR is a womanizer, whose cover is that he’s a cruise ship captain, while Tuck, who presents himself as a travel agent, has an ex-wife, Katie (Abigail Spencer), and a son, Joe (John Paul Ruttan). After seeing a commercial for online dating, Tuck decides to sign himself up and is paired with Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon), a product testing executive who’s dealing with the recent engagement of her ex-boyfriend. Her best friend, Trish (Chelsea Handler), has signed her up for the same online dating site. FDR insists on being Tuck’s backup for the date and hides nearby, but Tuck & Lauren hit it off.
Shortly thereafter, FDR runs into Lauren at a video store and tries to flirt with her, not knowing she’s Tuck’s date, but she notices that he’s a ladies’ man and ignores him. Intrigued, FDR crashes into one of Lauren’s test groups and persuades her to go on a date with him, where they also enjoy themselves. Lauren feels guilty about dating two men at the same time, but is persuaded by Trish to make the best of the situation.
FDR and Tuck soon discover that they’re seeing the same woman and decide not to tell her that they know each other, to interfere with each others’ dates, nor have sex with her and let her come to a decision between them. However, they soon break their rules and use CIA technology to spy on her and discover her preferences, as well as try to sabotage one another. FDR and Lauren eventually have sex, and Tuck and Lauren nearly do as well, before Lauren interrupts it, feeling bad about herself.
One day, Lauren invites Tuck to lunch, while FDR discovers that Heinrich has come to America to get revenge against them. He interrupts Lauren’s date with Tuck to warn him, but Tuck doesn’t believe him and they get into a fight, during which Lauren discovers that they’re friends and decides to leave alone with Trish. At that moment, they are captured by Heinrich and his men, who are pursued by FDR and Tuck.
FDR and Tuck rescue Lauren and Trish after a car chase, in which they reveal that they are CIA agents and, on Lauren’s advice, shoot the headlights on Heinrich’s car, deploying the airbags and sending Heinrich’s car spiraling out of control. FDR and Tuck, on different sides of the road, urge Lauren to come to their side, and she ultimately chooses FDR as Heinrich dies when his car swerves off the bridge and crashes below. Lauren decides to be with FDR, and Tuck makes amends with him. Tuck soon reconciles with Katie and they get married once more.
Shortly thereafter, FDR and Tuck are about to parachute out of a chinook helicopter when FDR reveals that he’ll marry Lauren, and also that he had sex with Katie before she met Tuck, and no longer feels guilty about it because Tuck had sex with Lauren. Tuck, however, reveals that they didn’t go all the way and angrily tackles FDR out of the helicopter.
Spy films were all the rage back in the day. These days, with the exception of an alleged James Bond flick, we rarely get any really spies. This Means War brings us them back to us, but in a different medium, romantic comedy…with a splash of action/adventure thrown in there.
So, what did I like?
Reese’s pieces. How in tarnation can she be nearly 40 and look like just as hot as ever. Let us not forget that she has a couple of kids! Aside from her looks, she is an extremely competent actress, probably the best one in this entire film.
No cheese. For a romantic comedy, this is missing all the cheesy parts that distinguish films in that genre. As a matter of fact, if not for the ending, and some female emotional breakdown stuff. There’s also the action stuff to throw it out.
Chelsea. There was a time when I thought Chelsea Handler was funny. Nowadays, she just comes off as mean and cruel. Here, though, she actually reminded me how funny she was. She should really consider playing more funny sidekick roles, they really fit her, especially since it turns out she ad-libbed almost all of her lines
Both sides. Chris Pine and Tom Hardy have great chemistry. I was really impressed with Hardy’s comedic abilities, as he isn’t known for being a comedic actor. Pine on the other is the usual, suave guy we tend to see in everything else he’s been in. I guess if the formula works for him, why change it, right?
What didn’t work?
Forgotten villains. The film starts with this awesome spy scene that leads you to believe this is going to be some sort of spy flick, but then it goes off into the whole main plot. In the last act of the film, though, it does came back, just in time to help tie everything together in a nice, neat bow and give the guys an outlet to save the girl, who hates them both now.
Cliche and predictable. The way this film plays out it extremely predictable and borderline cliché. There are times when this is cool, but in this case, not so much. This film had a chance to do something unique and different, but didn’t quite get there, and that may have very well been the biggest downfall.
This Means War is not the kind of film you would expect it to be if you were to see what genre it is listed under, however, once you watch it, one is sure to be pleasantly surprised. I know that I was. This is a really good film that many will fall in love with.
4 out of 5 stars