This Means War: Rom-Com Marks 10 Years in 2022

L-R: Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, and Tom Hardy in This Means War. Courtesy of 20th Century Studios.

This Means War depends on audiences buying into a rather predictable premise of two CIA agents falling for the same woman.

Ten years later, the film has its moments. Not many, of course, but they are there and you can’t help but laugh. Of course, the situation is too far-fetched and preposterous in and of itself! The minute that both FDR Foster (Chris Pine) and Tuck Hansen (Tom Hardy) learn they are both dating Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon) is when the film, more or less, jumps the shark. I mean, how far can they take it?!? Hell, I have a hard time buying that Lauren doesn’t see either of them come in and attach bugs for spying. And even then, is it really right for the government to sanction a sex tape? Even if it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, the two of them just take things too far. Oh yeah, do not even think of sleeping with her unless you want to suffer the consequences!

It’s a good thing that the script went through many revisions because it’s even harder buying into them as video game designers. Let alone video game designers with access to guided missiles! Screenwriter Larry Doyle shared his story about the script when the film was released. You should read it because it speaks to just how much is wrong in the industry. There is no reason to see the same film over and over! That this film was in development hell for so long also speaks to how long they had to work on the script. In the end, the film is okay and I fall somewhere in the middle. I just have a hard time buying into the idea that CIA employees would go along with a plan to spy on a woman. How many federal dollars are we spending for these two to spy on Lauren?!?

For everything preposterous about the film, McG certainly knows how to direct action. He’s no stranger to directing action-comedy and he’s working with three bankable leads in Witherspoon, Pine, and Hardy. Hardy doesn’t fake an American accent which also makes me wonder why his character is CIA and not on loan from MI6. For all of the fun moments, there are just things where you have to suspend disbelief. Two spies in love with the same woman seems like it could work on paper. There are so many moments where this could have been a super hysterical film! They certainly but miss the landing. There are moments where you wonder if this is the best the writers could do. And there are moments where you think about the ethical situation of it all.

Looking back on this film after 10 years, one can see where Tom Hardy is just beginning the audition process for James Bond. I mean, he has the stuff to pull off being a secret agent. Even though Lauren doesn’t pick Tuck at the end, he still wins because he gets his family back.

What to say about Chris Pine’s FDR Foster? For one, I’m looking at Chris and I’m seeing a lot of young William Shatner vibes. I don’t know if it’s intentional but he just comes off as a young Shatner in this film. Maybe I’ve been watching too much Star Trek but it certainly feels that way. Granted, Pine’s Star Trek role sees him making it his own rather than pull off a Shatner impression.

This Means War could benefit from reworking the script and adding more humor to an already preposterous situation at hand.

SCREENWRITERS: Timothy Dowling and Simon Kinberg
CAST: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Til Schweiger, Angela Bassett, Rosemary Harris, Chelsea Handler, Abigail Leigh Spencer

20th Century Fox released This Means War in theaters on February 17, 2012. Grade: 3/5

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.