A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
If there’s anything I hate more than a stupid action comedy, it’s an incompetent stupid action comedy. It’s not so bad it’s good. It’s so bad it’s nothing else but bad. At the center of “This Means War,” poor Reese Witherspoon is poised, playing Lauren, a perky single woman who meets two hunks through an online dating service. These two guys both work for the CIA, with their desks facing each other. What a hilarious coincidence, eh?
I could comprehend this story gimmick in a movie involving 16-year-olds. Witherspoon and her co-stars, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, have an average age of 33.33, and that's how old they look, 33.33-ish. Their agents should be old enough to warn them against this movie. That they are all single is possible. That the two guys meet the same girl and fall instantly in love and engage in bitter romantic struggle is … not. Reese Witherspoon is as cute as a button on Raggedy Ann's overalls, but irresistible raw sex appeal is not one of her qualities.
Now consider her CIA buddies, FDR Foster (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy). Although Reese is not convincing as the woman they go to war over, she would be ideally cast as a straight roommate giving them advice about their romance. Because surely they're gay. They do everything together, ranging from deadly fights on top of a Hong Kong skyscraper to an office contest to see who can shoot the most baskets by tossing wadded-up paper into a wastebasket.
Here's how creepy it gets. They divert apparently millions of dollars worth of high-tech electronic surveillance equipment to monitor Lauren's private life every moment of the day. This means they can watch each other trying to seduce her and also eavesdrop as she gets advice from Trish (Chelsea Handler), her BFF. Often they review the surveillance videos together. Is there something about that not entirely consistent with a heterosexual competition? Lauren is obviously only the nexus for their plexus.