I think I’m generally easier on filmmakers than regular gentry. As such, I often try – regardless of the inherent silliness, perhaps – to extrapolate some sort of meaning behind even the most ostensibly lacklustre of film offerings. After all, it takes as much effort to create bad art as it does to create good art…right? Like so many of the offerings this time of the year This Means War isn’t very good. It’s not based on a novel, so I can’t assume rabid readers were eager to see it recreated for the big screen. What it is, is a by-the-numbers romance/love triangle centring on two best friends who happen to be spies who happen to be dating the same woman. What makes This Means War significant is the fact that it stars Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon, prospective soon-to-be Oscar nominee Tom Hardy and the generally affable Chris Pine. It also stars Chelsea Handler, but this is the first time I’ve seen the woman in anything – I’ve apparently been under a rock. I don’t think I’ve missed anything.
Granted that the premise which evinces the entire thing is specious, at best, the film could have made for something more entertaining than this. It entertains a painful lack of awareness of the dynamics of friendships, I think, and even relationships which doesn’t bode well for what seems to be a romantic comedy (?). Not even touching on the worrying invasion of privacy the competing spies use to win over the damsel in potential distress, This Means War is terribly misguided on even the most basic of issues. A realisation that the two know each other loses any punch when Reese’s character finds out because her reaction is so bizarrely demonstrated.
I’m too lazy to discuss the film analytically, though, so perhaps I shouldn’t say anything if I will not follow through on critical analyses, but it’s worrying Reese comes off the worse of the three. As bad as it is, this should be simpler for her than it seems. Sure, her character is the least realised but she’s done this before – and she’s a better performer than both. Or, is the fact that she doesn’t have to prove herself which makes her seem so turgid in places? Bad movie, and tetchy male/female concepts aside I couldn’t help think how this same awful script could have reached to better heights in 1999, for example, with Julia Roberts playing Reese. The film would have still not been good…but it’d have been better, right? Who’d have played the duelling spies, though?
Reese in This Means War C
Chris in This Means War B-
Tom in This Means War C+ This Means War D+