“This Means War” – Review by MovieManMenzel

While silly, unrealistic, and over the top, This Means War is rather fun and enjoyable.

This Means War is probably about the silliest idea for a film that I have seen in quite some time. Unlike the trailer suggests, This Means War is not an action movie that you would think it would be, but rather more of a romantic comedy. The film follows Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine) who are two best friends who work for the CIA. Tuck is more of the laid back nice guy and FDR is the player type.  The idea of whether they would ever be able to settle down with a woman starts early on in the film and it isn’t long before Tuck tries online dating. This is when he meets Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) who is charming and fun to be around. The story only gets sillier as it turns out that FDR also meets Lauren and they begin to date as well. Now, the two friends must try to retain their friendship as they compete with one another as to who can win over the girl.

When I originally saw the trailer for this film, I first was like “ok, that looks alright” but then more and more advertisements came out and I was like “oh, no this is another action movie but with some comedic elements worked in.” Luckily, when walking out of the theater I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn’t an action movie, but more of a comedy with a few minor action sequences worked in for fun. Does this film even need any action at all? No, because it adds very little to the overall focus to the film, but I do know what the 20th Century Fox was trying to do by incorporating in the action. They were trying to appeal to both a male and female demographic and it definitely makes sense from a money standpoint to attempt that.

Putting the action sequences aside, I can’t believe I am typing these words, but I actually found This Means War to be really enjoyable. The opening was not the best because it was oddly paced and presented. There were a lot of weird edits and as I said previously the action was rather unnecessary.  It also didn’t really fit the rest of the tone of the film, which lead me to believe that someone said to add more of this into the film after it was already shot.

One of the things that really made me enjoy the film was the characters themselves. Chris Pine plays a douche-bag player type, but he looks and plays the part so well.  He gives the film a bad boy, which let’s be realistic most women like the bad boy rather than the sweet nice guy. It’s a harsh reality, but honestly it’s the truth. Tom Hardy, on the other hand, plays the sweet lovable guy. You root for him almost always throughout. Lastly, Reese Witherspoon has chemistry with both of them. It’s odd, how that worked out, but it did. I am not normally a fan of Witherspoon, but she is lovable in this film and plays the confused but gullible girl that lacks dating experience perfectly.

The chemistry between the leads is what makes the movie fun and rather endearing. I couldn’t help but smile as the shenanigans went on between the two male leads fighting to win over Lauren’s heart.  It kind of shows you how we are as humans in a weird way. We always try to cover up our flaws. At one point in the movie, Lauren talks about how each of the men lack a quality that she wants in a guy and they both attempt to fix the issue as Tuck tries to be more of a bad ass and FDR tries to be more of a sweetheart by taking Lauren with him to pick out a dog. It also, in an over the top matter, gives you a silly look at what people do for people they are falling in love with. It’s really silly how it’s depicted in this film, but I know personally that when you fall head over heels for someone, you do some crazy crap to make sure they are happy.

I must also point out that while people said the story was rather simplistic and seemed as if it was written by a child, it worked for me. Was it a good story? No. Was it believable? No. Was it stupid? Of course, but was anyone really expecting a powerhouse story from a movie directed by McG? What always blows my mind is that people claim Superbad and Knocked Up to be good movies when those stories are even dumber and look like they were written by a horny 13 year old. This movie had least had characters that made the stupid script work for them and used their charm and chemistry to sell the film. It wasn’t all about cheap sex gags, unless you want to talk about Chelsea Handler, who I will rant about in a minute.

While stupid and predictable, the story was fun almost throughout and the ending while cliched had more thought put into it then a typical Hollywood movie. There was some foreshadowing in the film to how the film was going to end, so I was a little shocked when I read and listened to how upset people were with the ending since I felt it made more sense than most films that had happy endings.

The worst thing about this film is without a doubt Chelsea Handler, who plays pretty much herself in the film. The first time she is on screen, she is tolerable, but as the film continues on, her character just gets worse and worse. It annoyed me to see her play the role as if it was a stand up bit. She didn’t make me laugh or smile and after a while I just wanted her to disappear from the film entirely.  She was obviously inserted into this film as the best friend character that doesn’t make good decisions.  This felt cheap and made me roll my eyes several times throughout the film.

At the end of the day when all is said and done, I did enjoy This Means War. While the movie has enough flaws in it to complain about for a solid 20-30 minutes, there was enough good about it to make it very enjoyable mindless entertainment. I had a smile on my face almost constantly throughout the film and thought that Tom Hardy, Reese Witherspoon, and Chris Pine all did a wonderful job playing their characters even with the average script the film had. The movie is not one that requires much thought at all, so leave your brain at the door. It’s enjoyable and fun, but will surely disappoint those going in and expecting an action film. I recommend it as a fun little comedy that knows its cheesy and does a good job appealing to both sexes.

MovieManMenzel’s final rating is a 6.5 out of 10

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