Review: THIS MEANS WAR (2012) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Review: THIS MEANS WAR (2012)


Crude, childish, uninspired, lazy, awful... I can go on and on, because McG's latest action-romantic-comedy THIS MEANS WAR sees him hits a new low since 2003's CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE. On paper, THIS MEANS WAR looks gamely potential: it has three charming leads of Chris Pine, Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon and a high-concept premise that recalls the work of TRUE LIES (1994) and MR. & MRS. SMITH (2005). Too bad what is presented on screen is completely a garbled mess that neither funny or romantic. Even McG botched big-time the way he orchestrated the action sequences. Well, something is terribly wrong here...

Meanwhile, here's the story: FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are best friends who both work as secret agents for the CIA. They are very good on what they does, except they are kind of loose cannons. Following from a botched assignment in Hong Kong that saw international hit man Heinrich's (Til Schweiger) brother gets killed, both of them are immediately grounded at their Los Angeles headquarters and reduced to office duty. Then one day both of them decide to try online dating to get their potential soulmate. Through a series of coincidences, both of them end up dating Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), a career-driven woman has a wonderful job testing consumer products. Actually it was Tuck the one who first met Lauren through a popular dating website where they have a brief but memorable coffee date before she bumps into FDR at the video store and flirts with him over the debates of Alfred Hitchcock's movies. Not surprisingly, FDR falls for her at the first sight and decides to ask her out. When both of them finally realize they've been chasing the same woman, they strike a gentleman's agreement that they will both keep dating Lauren and let her pick the best man. Of course, they start to play dirty by using every state-of-the-art tool at their disposal to gain Lauren's attention until one day, Heinrich has made his comeback to plot a revenge against FDR and Tuck for causing his brother's death.

Despite the involvement of screenwriter Simon Kinberg, who also responsible for that 2005's box-office hit, MR. & MRS. SMITH, it's very sad to see the plot is as if written by an amateur who is just experiencing puberty. I mean, the way how FDR and Tuck deal against each other to win Lauren's heart cries total juvenile in their actions. Even at one point, Lauren screams, "You have the emotional maturity of a 15-year-old!" to FDR after his attempt to impress her is too shallow for her liking. If Kinberg, co-writer Timothy Dowling and director McG are somewhat trying to ape screwball approach here, well, they have totally misjudged all those childish gags as good sense of humor. Okay, there are some minor chuckles here and there (in which you have already seen them one times too many in the heavily-promoted trailer) but most of them are just shockingly dull and unfunny. And same goes for the tasteless romance too.

Then there's the clumsily-edited action sequences. It's kind of shocking to see McG, who previously shown some of those flairs in 2009's TERMINATOR SALVATION, is totally lost here. All the potential excitements here are frantically shot with lots of intense close-ups and rapid-fire editing as if McG is rushing to the finish line.

But the most embarrassing of all are the wasted talents of Chris Pine, Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon here who obviously made a total fool of themselves playing adult roles with a mind of -- here I go again -- 15-year-old juvenile kids. All three of them may have been easy on the eyes, but their ill-fated performances are simply amateurish. Not even the presence of normally-perky Reese Witherspoon (a veteran in romantic comedy genre) can saves this pile of junk here. Sure, she does look a lot more sassy and sexy than usual but that's just about it. Til Schweiger, on the other hand, appears nothing but a thankless role as a cardboard villain.

THIS MEANS WAR is seriously a monumental waste of time. Even if it's meant as a movie not to be taken seriously, it's still an overblown piece of cinematic embarrassment.

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