This Means War is one of the most predictable movies I have seen in some time, but when the actors are as appealing as Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, then who cares. Plus the movie manages to blend romance, comedy and thrills into a cohesive package and keep the audience entertained on all fronts. It may not be a classic film in any sense but it is certainly one that is above average in total enjoyment.
Tuck (Hardy) and FDR (Pine) are CIA superspies, and they are close on and off the job. They have a fine bromance going and they are determined nothing and no one will come between their friendship. Enter Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) a woman on the hunt for a good man. She first meets Tuck and finds herself attracted to him, but immediately thereafter she meets FDR and finds him attractive too.
The two men discover early on they are dating the same woman, but decide not to let her know they know each other. They also vow to stay out of each other's way and let the best man win. That doesn't last long and soon they are sabotaging the other's dates. All of this is played out with good-natured fun from the spying to the sabotaging. And of course eventually Lauren has to make a choice.
Witherspoon looks fantastic in this film and plays each scene with exuberant joy. She is at her best when she is confiding in her best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler). Reportedly Handler ad-libbed most of her dialogue with Witherspoon, trying to keep pace and not crack up.
In the same gender tradition, Hardy and Pine are at their best playing off each other rather than playing with Witherspoon. Both men are charming and handsome in different ways, but the blend of their characters gives the movie a push. In many ways they are both so appealing that Witherspoon could have ended up with either and audiences would have been satisfied.
Abigail Leigh Spencer makes an impression as Tuck's ex-wife. There is a softness about the character that will appeal to most males in the audience. Angela Bassett has a few scenes as the guys' boss. It isn't much of a role but she gives it a shot.
The film is rated PG-13 for profanity and violence.
This Means War is a movie that exceeds your expectations. You might think it will just be a run of the mill rom-com but it is more than that primarily because of the charm of the cast. All three leads are at the top of their game physically and acting wise. They make this "battle of the sexes" fun from beginning to end.
I rated This Means War a peaceful 7 out of 10.
Jackie K Cooper
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