This Means War

Movies , Action and adventure
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Tom Hardy, left, Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine in This Means War
Tom Hardy, left, Reese Witherspoon and Chris Pine in This Means War

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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