thismeanswarI enjoyed the Spy vs. Spy cartoons in Mad Magazine when I was a kid. Sort of like the new film, This Means War.

This Means War

I enjoyed the Spy vs. Spy cartoons in Mad Magazine when I was a kid. It was interesting to see how creative they could be in blowing each other up. I am not sure there was really a purpose or point to the whole thing but it was at least mildly entertaining. Sort of like the new film, This Means War.

Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine) are top CIA operatives. They are partners and as close as brothers. Tuck is a soft spoken Brit trying to find a solid, lasting relationship. FDR is more the one night stand type of guy. When they both end up dating the same girl, Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), it becomes Spy vs. Spy and may the best man and up with the girl. Meanwhile Lauren has no idea that the two men even know each other or that they are going to drastic lengths to outdo one another.

This film has the right cast but the story line is trivial, predictable, and often just plain silly. It doesn’t even try and elevate itself from among the bottom feeders of the romantic comedy genre. Witherspoon is always adorable but watching her bounce back and forth between these two guys and then use sex as a tie breaker is beneath her. It is also hard watching Hardy and Pine as they deliver line after line of goofy dialogue. These are decent actors who are certainly capable of filling the tough CIA guy shoes. They pull off the spy games believably; even when the moments are unbelievable.  The problem lies when they have to open their mouths. But that blame falls on the writing.

Originally slated for an R rating it was later edited down to a PG-13. The edits are very sloppy and many times feel like a TV version where you can tell they said something that doesn’t quite come out the same. No effort was given to clean it up properly and it makes the film seem low budget. Chelsea Handler plays Lauren’s good friend Trish. Her scenes seem the most cut up. Handler is well known for her crude, insidious language and behavior. Here it comes off as unlikable and unfunny.

Few fans of the genre will feel good at the end after paying box office money to see it. It is a better renter and best to wait until it hits the Blu-ray shelf (which will undoubtedly be soon). If you just have to have something new for a GNO then take a shot. Pine and Hardy are good eye candy and if you can look past the plot and Lauren’s decision making then you might be ok. Certainly not a recommended date movie for older couples. It is too silly for that.

Though edited down to a PG-13, be on guard for some sexual content and language. There are quite a few sexual references and crude innuendoes (mainly by Handler) as well as the overall theme of allowing sex to be a decision tie breaker. There is nothing overtly foul but it just has a continuous stream that flows lazily through the entire picture. I give This Means War 2.5 out of 5 sleeping darts. I was disappointed because I am a huge fan of Chris and Reese. Not sure how they were talked into this one but whatever favor they owed; it is certainly paid off now.

 Review copyright 2012 Mungleshow Productions. Used by Permission.