This Means War

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Tom Hardy, left, Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine in This Means War
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Some kind of internal threshold for obnoxiousness is broken when you submit to this harsh rom-com---you feel it give way and wonder whose idea it was to release the thing around Valentine's Day. Charmless and histrionic, this mean-spirited movie takes place in the toyscape of McG (Charlie's Angels), a monomonikered director who makes Michael Bay seem thoughtful. Our heroes are FDR (that's actually what he goes by, played by Star Trek's Pine) and Tuck (Hardy), two extra-close CIA agents who love their job. After foiling a John Woo--tired rooftop heist, they stride with equal swagger into a competition to win over a woman they've both dated.

But wait: Isn't that woman Reese Witherspoon, very often not obnoxious? As Lauren, a workaholic, Witherspoon fades into the part of an insecure product tester, afraid of rejection. You never believe it, nor do you think she'd ever submit to a shrill pep talk from bestie Chelsea Handler (i.e., the point at which your head explodes). Then come the paintball mishaps and surveillance-cam stalking---or is it wooing? Every plot point is telegraphed, yet given the usual conventions of these triangulations, it's still possible to wince at the awful ending, a focus-group-tested option that actually has Lauren picking the lamer of two jerks.

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf

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Release details

Rated: PG-13
Release date: Friday February 17 2012
Duration: 97 mins

Cast and crew

Director: McG Joseph McGinty Nichol
Cast: Tom Hardy
Reese Witherspoon
Chris Pine
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