Review – This Means War
The day I lost faith in humanity and worked out I a film snob
This evening it finally happened. I no longer believe that everyone is equal. It’s a lovely concept but in reality it can’t happen. I mean how can it when a whole cinema, not just a few people, laugh, openly laugh, through out this film. HOW! Ok, you might get the feeling I disliked this film from this opening statement. You are wrong. The film as a concept is sound. I could have been so much more if it had not been for terrible dialogue and being so bloody predictable.
So I went to see this film as one of these “you made me go and see *insert guy film title*” paybacks to the girlfriend. I thought it was a safe bet. A reasonably original concept, ok cast and a trailer which didn’t turn my eyes to a dribbling goo like most of the films the lady-friend thinks “might be ok”. I went in not wanting to pick holes in it, I just wanted to turn off my brain and enjoy a nice story, a bit of action and some general silliness. I didn’t happen. This review is not about picking hole, nope it’s about trying to find the edge on the gaping hole of the 97 minute shambles.
The problem isn’t the story. As I say the story is about as sound and a story about to CIA agents going out with the same girl can be. The two agents, FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are both in love with Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon) and use all manner of spy kit to hamper each others advances. All along some Russia mobster is trying to kill them when it is convenient to the storyline (this is a very muted storyline and is forgotten through out until its needed). Also Lauren Scott is given love advice by her friend Trish (Chelsea Handler) who is probably the worst character I have ever seen in a film (more about that below).
It also attempts to make a chick flick which is laced with action to interest dragged along boyfriends. A bit like cocktails that have beer or whisky in them. In doing so they kind of lose half the audience at each extreme and the bits where they meet are messy and a bit unpleasant to watch.
So as tradition dictates I am now going to a part with spoilers. Do yourself a favour and read it. You will thank me in the end (after watching this film I fear that’s not far off).
So first up is the completely predictable outcomes. Lets see if you can work it out what will happen from these three points.
1. One guy is American and the other is British and this film is made in America.
2. You find out at the beginning that the British character has a son to a mother he no longer lives with but she pops up from time to time.
3. A Russia guys brother is killed by the two agents at the beginning and he vows revenge.
So what happens? Go on have a guess!
Ok. She strings the two along, just as she is going to tell them who she has chosen she is kidnaped by the Russian, the two then save here, she picks the American guy (who is a bit of an asshole and kind of tricks her into liking her). The rejected British guy then gets back together with his wife and somewhere in there the Russia guy is killed in an explosion of some sorts. Now, here is a thought, how about changing it up a bit. Not have the same old formula. No chance that would require some kind of brain power by the writing staff.
This lack of grey matter when writing was also a problem with the dialogue. Lazy one liner, after lazy one liner. Quotes that don’t make sense. But the worst is the crud “girl chats” between Lauren and Trish. The Trish character fits the bill of the fat crud guy role in an “Blokes” comedy. Think the bigger lass in that Bridesmaids film. What she says is embarrassingly crass and unfunny like shouting “That’s what we need, a SEX OFF!” in a soft play surrounded by children. Just loud and trying badly to be edgy for the sake of it. The story and the flow of the film is hampered by it and it tipped this film from poor to terrible in my eyes.
I also didn’t help that the “Live from the Red Carpet” crap during the trailers gave the punchline away to one of the only well-developed jokes in the whole film. This is where Tuck destroys the field at a paint ball game in a nice long montage of ass kicking. Then when talking to Lauren she accidentally shoots him in the crotch. It would have been a bit obvious but maybe would have raised a giggle if I had not known what was going to happen the second I clocked a paint ball gun. Not the films fault I suppose but cinemas need to stop crap like that happening.
On a positive Tom Hardy is very good in the film. I felt he played the role really well and I was even a tad pleased when he got a girl at the end. My respect for him has risen and he proved himself as a fine actor despite working with a terrible script. I also though that Reese Witherspoon come out with plus marks over all but Chris Pine struck me as a poor-mans Jason Bateman.
The thing that really gets me is that people will like this film. They will even say it was good when in reality it was terrible lowest-common-denominator trash that had the potential to be so much more. I wish they had spent as much time on writing the script as they did on working on the concept.
God I hope the next film I see is a belter so I can be positive about it. Writing this was draining!
Till next time