Reviews

This Means War

3

Kirk and Bane fight to go ‘Spoon-ing

There can’t be many who welcomed the news of McG returning to his roots to make a spy-based action comedy - although the prospect of Chris Pine and Tom Hardy as the Y chromosome’s answer to Charlie’s Angels might’ve pricked up a few female ears.

Things start off on a less-than-promising and patently McG note – a generic, clumsily shot gun-toting action set-piece atop a Hong Kong skyscraper, punctuated by lame one-liners and bursts of sub-AC/DC hard guitar. The sight of Pine and Hardy rocking sharp suits aside, you sense you’re in for a long 97 minutes.

It’s a relief, then, to discover that the opener is pure red herring. Their rooftop-bothering antics deemed too attention grabbing, our boys end up relegated to desk jobs at their CIA base, with nothing better to think about than their desultory love lives. Enter Reese Witherspoon’s unlucky-in-love Lauren whom, thanks to a convoluted web-dating subplot, the BFFs inadvertently both begin dating.

Despite what the title would have you believe, this doesn’t actually mean war so much as an onslaught of mild, rather enjoyable bromantic bickering, as Pine and Hardy make an uneasy ‘gentleman’s pact’, and proceed to compare notes on dates, engage in surveillance-based one-upmanship, and make passive-aggressive swipes at one another’s manhood.

Given co-scripter Simon Kinberg’s previous scribing gig on Sherlock Holmes, it’s not surprising how much pleasure lies in the central co-dependent friendship – although as with Holmes, it’s not so much the writing as the easy comedic chemistry between the leads that sells it.

Pine and Hardy both seem to be having so much fun in their loose, improv-inflected scenes that it’s impossible not to have some yourself.

As compelling as the bromance is, the womance gets a decent look in too – Witherspoon’s got comedic skills to spare but here she’s largely playing the straight woman to US TV star Chelsea Handler, a surprise highlight as Lauren’s pragmatic, zinger-laden best friend.

For all that this is plainly a rom-brom-com, there are some concessions to the action caper it once appeared to be – the CIA base looks more like a leftover bit of JJ Abrams’ Enterprise set than a government building, while the ending dovetails swiftly into a bookending action blow-out and an overly neat triangle resolution.

McG apparently filmed multiple endings, and you can’t help thinking there must have been a more inspiring one than this in the mix.

Verdict:

Watching really attractive, really charismatic people be really funny seldom gets old, and they’re served reasonably well by a tight, disciplined script that capitalises on their game charms.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • MikeyRix

      Jan 31st 2012, 11:28

      Interesting, I was expecting a two-starrer from you guys. I do feel a little less guilty about going to see it on V-Day weekend. I wll still be drinking before seeing this, however. xD

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    • MillerCrosses

      Jan 31st 2012, 12:50

      Just makes me want to see a Bond vs Hunt movie, just one where they have different names.

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    • paulbyrne

      Feb 3rd 2012, 1:38

      This has been moved to March 2nd. Which isn't far enough away, not by a long shot. If Michael Bay made comedies, this is just the sort of soulless, hi-tech mess he might inflict upon us...

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    • EddieFelson

      Feb 17th 2012, 12:28

      I think I may end up having this on my guilty pleasures list (just hope it's not too OTT)

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