I’ll be honest. I only saw This Means War because I’m a big fan of Tom Hardy. From the trailer, the movie looked like it had the potential to be entertaining, but I didn’t hold out too much hope for it. But, God, I really do love Tom Hardy, and it kills me a little that he chose to do one of these romantic comedies. Yet, I still found me dragging myself to the screening the other evening. This Means War was okay. Director McG brings some style to it, but many of the lame jokes and typical plot developments drag the film down.
Tom Hardy and Chris Pine star as two top CIA agents who are in a mission to find some bad guy (played by Til Schweiger. Oh hi, Hugo Stiglitz!). Their mission isn’t really that important because they are focused to win the affections of Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) the girl they find out they’re both dating. They use their CIA operative skills and charm to battle each other to win over Lauren, who is being guided by her friend Trish (Chelsea Handler).
Tuck (Hardy) is the sweet, nice guy. He’s serious about relationships and is ready to settle down. FDR (Pine) is the more cocky, ladies-man type. He’s not ready to settle down at all… of course, UNTIL he meets Lauren. The camaraderie between Tuck and FDR is fun to watch and most of the funny moments were between these two. Since Chelsea Handler essentially plays herself, you’d expect many funny jokes to come from her. Unfortunately, many of them were lame, but the jokes made at her expense were hilarious. Witherspoon is cute as Lauren. There’s nothing really to dislike about her. Her role is rather typical; Reese just adds a little to the sweetness factor.
The overall story is simple and predictable. McG adds some fun to it, but it isn’t enough to lift the movie from clichéd rom-com territory. “You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all” does apply to this film. I know many will see this film and enjoy it. And I did enjoy many moments, but the rest is practically déjà vu. The ending, in particular, very much annoyed me because **SPOILER ALERT** it just reinforces the notion that nice guys finish last. Yeah, everyone got a happily ever after, which was TOO convenient. But it still says “Yeah, fall in love with the cocky asshole because he’ll definitely fall in love with you too and turn magically into a sweet guy.” Dear Hollywood, can we stop telling women to fall in love with jerks? Because in reality, how many jerks actually change? **SPOILER ALERT OVER**
This Means War is rent-worthy at best. I actually suggest choosing The Vow over this film if you’re heading to the cinema on Valentine’s Day. I mean, This Means War is tolerable (much thanks to Mr. Tom Hardy and a couple jokes); at least you get some sort of real romantic wistfulness in The Vow.
This Means War hits theaters February 14th!