May 28, 2012

[Movies] This Means War (2012)

I miss Reese Witherspoon. She just doesn't seem to have as many movie projects as she used to and so we rarely see her shine on the silver screen. And when we first saw the trailers for This Means War, I have to admit I got a bit excited since she was starring in it and it featured the likes of Tom Hardy in as well. Yay Tom Hardy!

But at the same time, it was clear from the trailer that this was going to be one of those movies that I knew would be rather corny. The whole two spies fighting over a girl premise wasn't all that interesting to begin with plus the trailer just had that feeling of, well corniness. I lack another word for it.

So we waited around to watch it on video instead of in the theaters and I can safely say that it was the right thing to do. I don't see how this would have been worth the theater ticket price no matter how cute Tom Hardy is. And I'll get to Reese Witherspoon's involvement later on.

Still, it's not exactly a bad movie either. It just wasn't all that impressive overall. Ah well.

This Means War is a 2012 romantic comedy directed by McG, who was also behind such fun movie adventures like the Charlie's Angels movies. The screenplay was by Timothy Dowling and Simon Kinberg.

The movie begins with our two spies, who are also best friends - FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy). During an operation in Hong Kong, they fail to apprehend an international criminal named Heinrich (Til Schweiger) but manage to kill his brother in the process. So now he has a personal grudge against the two agents and thus they are reassigned to desk duty in the meantime.

English: Tom Hardy at the premiere of Inceptio...
English: Tom Hardy at the premiere of Inception in London in July 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One thing leads to another and Tuck is convinced to try online dating given his recent complications with his ex-wife Katie (Abigail Spencer) and his son Joe (John Paul Ruttan). At the same time, one Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon), also single and pretty much married to her job, gets signed up for the same online dating service by her friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). The two have a first date and things seem to go well. But as Lauren goes on to rent a movie after her date, she encounters FDR at the video store, who becomes smitten and tries to pursue her.

And thus we have our love triangle - the two eventually discover that they're seeing the same woman and brilliantly resolve that they should continue seeing her with certain ground rules in place prepares use for the overall story.

Now my initial focus for watching this movie was Reese Witherspoon and that is what disappointed me the most. Not that she wasn't adorable as usual, but the role she was made to portray just didn't feel truly tailored to her. In fact, it could have been pretty much any other generic pretty girl in the role. I'll associate Reese Witherspoon roles with rather plucky, independent women who are fairly headstrong and have a clear idea of what they want or at least are able to assert themselves. In this movie she was mostly in the background and just letting all the antics and hijinks just happen around her.

I think the only time she became a bit more involved in the story was all the way at the end with the bit about airbags - and that was it.

And given the two decide to continue to date her in secret and eventually use their spy skills and resources to learn more about her and thwart one another from making progress, I really wish they hand't gone down that classic road of when Reese discovers all their lies. Seriously, couldn't have we been more original in this regard?

The antics of the boys were cute, but nothing overly amazing. There were certainly spy-ish elements but as usual the best stuff were all in the trailer for the movie. Otherwise, there were a lot of stupid things going on. Plus there was the fact that they still had an actual criminal involved in the story that really just took away from things and again only fulfilled a rather cliche niche in all this. Ah well.

Really sad with how this movie turned out. It could have been something truly original and inventive and instead it opted to just play all the usual tropes of many other romantic comedies before it.

This Means War is a movie you can opt to catch on cable TV sometime but don't spend extra for it. Your only perk is maybe a shirtless Chris Pine, but that really doesn't do anything for me. Thus I rate the movie 2 weird reports by the surveillance teams out of a possible 5.

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