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Bad Movie Tuesday: This Means War

May 29, 2012

This Means War was directed by McG. This means the movie was guaranteed to be loud, dumb and clumsily edited. My girlfriend and I did the worst possible thing when we watched this movie. We had hope. We went against the critics, audiences and McG’s history and hoped it would be dumb romantic comedy fun.

We were wrong. This movie is not fun because it is lazy. Watching it made me think of the film No Strings Attached. NSA gets a lot of criticism because it is incredibly uneven. I like that about NSA. It is an odd little film that attempts to be different. For instance, Lake Bell’s insane character, Cary Elwes odd doctor and an inventive usage of 3D glasses. Natalie Portman tries to be foul-mouthed and Kevin Kline drinks sizzurp. It doesn’t always work but it tries. This Means War does not try and it shows on-screen.

Let me give you an example. There are two scenes where Tom Hardy is watching his kid wrestle in the same auditorium. The scenes take place months apart but Hardy is wearing the same clothes. They couldn’t bother to give him a new outfit. They just shot right through the two scenes. This same thing happens twice in the movie with other characters.

Also, there is scene where Hardy and Reese are getting romantic and Pine unleashes the water sprinklers in the million dollar apartment. Pine wrecks everything in his best friends home and nobody ever says a word. Pine and Hardy also spend millions of dollars spying on Reese as she talks to her terrible BFF Chelsea Handler.

What annoys me is that McG landed three wonderful actors and he does nothing with them. Everything they say is stock, the action is bland and poor Reese plays the worst character of her career. Portman caught crap for her foul-mouthed and strange doctor character in NSA but at least she tried something new.  In This Means War Reese lies to her ex fiance about having a boyfriend. Later you find out that the ex cheated on her and broke her heart. After all of this she is incapable of telling him off. All I could think about was her role in Walk the Line and how she says “baby baby’s always baby baby baby.” Witherspoon was saucy. Here she is a depressing little bugger.

The men who fall for her are Chris Pine and Tom Hardy. They play two incredibly tiny/well dressed CIA agents who fall INSTANTLY in love with her on the same day.

Neither of them wants to call it off so they both decide to date the Reese.  Poor/shady Reese doesn’t know about the deal or tell the men she is dating two people. She happily dates the two spies. What follows is nut shots, blow darts and montages.

Whilst dating Witherspoon the two spies take their eyes off a eurotrash villain who wants revenge for the death of his brother. The dude would be nondescript but he is played by Til Schweiger. All I can think of when I see him is “Hugo Stiglitz.”

My favorite movie critic Roger Ebert said this in his review:

“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.”

Ebert disliked this movie with a passion. If you look at the words I highlighted you will notice the seven negative words in three short sentences.

I didn’t hate this film. I was annoyed at the inability to say anything new. McG had a big budget, lots of talent and an opportunity to do something special. Instead he annoyed Roger Ebert and witnessed his film sink at the box office.

This movie is like diluting Hendricks gin with Coca-Cola. It wrecks the taste and doesn’t let you appreciate the fine ingredients. Hardy, Pine and Witherspoon are watered down amidst the shiny lights and saccharine plot.

This Means War is a lazy film. Don’t waste your time on a movie that offers nothing new. Check out a classic or at least enjoy the randomness of No Strings Attached.

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