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A RomCom Action - Heavy On The Rom, Light On Action
This Means War (DVD)
Member Name: cazkins
This Means War (DVD)
Advantages: Easy enough to watch
Disadvantages: Weak premise, nothing new, cheesy/cliched, not enough action!
This was directed by McG, a strange name admittedly, who has worked on various TV series and films, including Chuck and The OC (producer), and Charlie's Angels (Director), so he has experience that was put to use in This Is War. We are introduced to FDR and Tuck, two CIA agents and best friends, despite a lot of competition between the two of them in their work and personal lives perhaps. They're both single, with FDR being more of a 'player' and Tuck being more the gentleman after having his heartbroken. Things are about to change as they both meet a woman, the only problem being that they've both met the same woman.
Intro Lauren, a successful woman with her own business and by all other accounts one of those 'perfect' characters that has everything going for her. It's no wonder the two guys both fell for her, but for Lauren, dating two guys at the same time isn't something she's comfortable with. Having discussed her options with her friend, she decides to do it anyway. She will put them through their paces and see which is the better suitor. Once the guys discover they're dating the same woman, however, their competitive streak arises as they clamour for her attentions and to secure the best dates with her. It's a case of having the best man win, except their tactics become increasingly unethical despite them both saying they wouldn't let it ruin their friendship.
The rest of the film just takes us through the various dates the two guys go on with Lauren, with a small sideline of the CIA guys real CIA work getting the bad guys. The question is, will Lauren see through the lies and pretending the two candidates are employing to compete to win her affections? Will she pick one of them, or decide neither are ultimately worth it? And what will happen to the real CIA work at hand, especially with the tensions fraying between the two friends and co-workers?
I'm not entirely sure where to start with this one in terms of my thoughts on it, but I will say that I was naïve in thinking that the mix of action thriller and romantic comedy could be anything but a mushy chick flick. Throughout the film, I was wondering where the action would come in and when the stereotypical, standard rom com would take a back seat. There was a lot in the way of
The cast was fairly strong with Chris Pine (FDR), Tom Hardy (Tuck) and Reese Witherspoon (Lauren) taking the leading roles. They made the film more enjoyable because I quite liked them and they made the characters relatively believable. However, even the three of them combined couldn't do enough to bring this film up in my mind from 2 stars given the bog standard premise and script. I am pretty sure though that without them this film wouldn't have stood a chance, so they were chosen fairly well. Having said that, I was irritated a bit by Tuck, the well-spoken British agent, for the stereotyping this inevitably brought with it.
The concept of This Means War was to mix spy-thrilling action with romance and comedy, but, as I've already mentioned, it seemed to favour the latter genres. The plot was very much focused on the love triangle, with the real CIA stuff taking a back seat to the point where it might as well not have been included. I can't say I found this to be much of a comedy; I don't think I laughed, chuckled, or even smirked, once. It seemed very basic and very expected, not being interesting or witty enough for me to find it comical. It was, however, quite a light film. It was easy enough to watch without much thought and it was easy going, but I found some points difficult because it was so predictable and 'mushy', for lack of a better word.
The overall feel to the film was one of reasonable quality, and there were one or two scenes of action that were done all right. Really, it just felt 'so-so', with no scenes or effects or events sticking in my mind. Nothing was noteworthy, nothing was memorable or made me want to talk about it with others after having watched it. The ending I found to be disappointing, but exactly what I had expected, so it was just a film I didn't think much of in general. Fans of Witherspoon-esque chick flicks may enjoy this, with its mix of hot guys, a bit of action and the tale of an 'ordinary' but unlucky-in-love girl having two guys literally fight over her. Just don't watch it expecting too much.
Would I recommend? Personally, no I wouldn't, but then again I also don't particularly like romcoms. I didn't think it did what I had hoped it would do by integrating the spy-thriller element, so it was disappointing. It added nothing new and was very predictable, but it does make for some mindless viewing.
DVD released 2012, running time 93 minutes, rated Certificate 12
Selling on Amazon for £9.99 (DVD & digital copy)
Summary: A rather bland romcom that forgot the action