Tuesday, June 19, 2012

At the Movies: This Means War

When I saw the trailer for This Means War last February, I knew that it was more of a rent than a see-in-the-theater.  So when rental time rolled around last weekend (and I had seen pretty much everything else), I knew that it was time to give it a try.

More romantic suspense than romantic comedy, This Means War is about uptight, type A product tester Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), a woman who is shanghaied into the wild world of online dating by her married, saltier best bud, Trish (Chelsea Handler).  Like most women faced with this predicament, Lauren is less then thrilled, worrying that she'll get chopped up in a million pieces by one of her would-be suitors.  Naturally, she ends up attracting not one but two CIA assassins (who are, of course, perfectly nice guys despite their violent profession).

She meets Tuck, (Tom Hardy - not to be confused with that guy who wrote Tess of the d'Urbervilles), a divorced father whose British reserve is seasoned by his badass tattoos, through the online dating site and FDR (a name with a trunk-load of baggage if every there was one [Chris Pine]) in a video store (because a guy like him is too cool for online dating, but not, apparently, for the world's last Blockbuster).  FDR is the cocky playboy to Tuck's self-deprecating gentleman.  Which, of course, meant that I disliked him from "go," a prejudice that was hard to shake even after he inevitably revealed his sensitive side.

It isn't long before Tuck and FDR discover that they've fallen for the same girl.  FDR offers to back down, not wanting to give Tuck unfair competition.  Tuck, put off by his pal's patronizing ways, takes offense, an argument crops up, and before you can say, "Fire!" the boys are battling it out for the babe.  Which would be an offensively old-school scenario if said babe wasn't smarter than both blokes put together.  Not that Lauren doesn't have her doubts about dating two guys at once.  She's a nice girl, after all, despite being a professional hardass with a candy-colored office that would make Barbie drool.  But Trish dismisses Lauren's doubts, insisting that Gloria Steinem didn't sit in prison just so Lauren could "be a little bitch."   Lauren soldiers on just as Tuck and FDR plot a war of their own, taking full advantage of all the surveillance amenities in their government-appointed arsenal.  At one point both slink in and out of Lauren's house to plant bugs and suss out her likes and dislikes, completely undetected by the object of their affection as she busts out music video-worthy dance moves to Montell Jordan's "This is How We Do It."  It's one of those scenes that's so bad it's funny and probably the only place the movie ever encroaches on true rom com territory.

The rest of the plot is pretty predictable - the bf called it in about five minutes - and not truly satisfying, as I was hoping the end would swing in another direction.  Also, the plot was a little too explosion heavy for my admittedly girly tastes.  I think the cloak-and-dagger-slash-bromance stuff was mixed in with the love story to make it more guy-friendly, especially for Valentine's Day weekend, which was when the movie debuted.  But everyone was neatly paired up just in time for the credits, which was enough to keep me happy.

1 comment:

Valerie said...

I'll have to give this a go too. I agree, it does sound more like a movie to rent that a watch in the theater movie:)