Movie review: This Means War

By Christina Luo

Forget 3D glasses for enhanced viewing; take a shot every time you spot a Vancouver site instead

Chris Pine (Star Trek) and Tom Hardy (Inception) are CIA operatives who engage in what starts as a friendly battle over a love interest, played by rom-com deity Reese Witherspoon. This Means War is equally as entertaining as the plot is ludicrous, probably because the leads still look downright attractive doing ridiculous things.

This is also due to the bromantic bickering between Pine and Hardy, executed by co-writer Simon Kinberg, of Sherlock Holmes definitely added to an otherwise eye roll-inducing dialogue.

We all know how much fun it is to identify local markers in Hollywood films, and this Vancouver-filmed production gives the audience plenty, including the Blarney Stone patio and Barcelona nightclub on Granville.

Demoted to their desks after blowing a covert job atop what we know as the Bentall office towers, best mates and partners FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) are left to ponder over the next best thing in a man’s life: women. After a simultaneous 3-2-1 unveiling of their girl of interest, Lauren, they make a ‘may-the-best-man-win’ pact.

The result is an uproarious montage of date-sabotaging via tranquilizers and air drones employed by their respective surveillance teams, which inevitably tears the codependent friendship apart as Lauren continues to be irritatingly indecisive about the two very different men.

Witherspoon and Pine may be the main attractions of the cast, but Hardy’s British wit was a standout as he portrayed the brutish but sweet Tuck, making the audience root for the underdog over smooth operator FDR. TV personality Chelsea Handler essentially butchered her acting career as Lauren’s crude best friend by barely making eye contact with Witherspoon, a shame as the character is given many-a-zinger, like encouraging Lauren to make her decision between her two gentleman callers by means of a sex tiebreaker.

This Means War is not by any means an outstanding rom-com, nor will it be remembered in a few weeks’ time. Jokes fall painfully flat and bad guy Til Schweiger (Inglorious Bastards) is wasted as the sideline scowl in underwhelming action scenes. Nonetheless, cast chemistry saves the film, upgrading it from another lonely girl’s torrent to a light-hearted romp that will appeal to both genders.