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DVD Review: This Means War

May 22, 2012

This Means War – A 20th Century Fox Release

http://www.thismeanswarmovie.com

DVD Release Date: May 22nd, 2012

Rated 14A for violence, sexual content and some language

Running time: 96 minutes

McG (dir.)

Timothy Dowling (screenplay and story)

Simon Kinberg (screenplay)

Marcus Gautesen (story)

Christophe Beck (music)

Reese Witherspoon as Lauren

Chris Pine as FDR Foster

Tom Hardy as Tuck

Chelsea Handler as Trish

Our reviews below:

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This Means War DVD Review By John C.

*1/2 (out of 4)

Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine) are best friends in the CIA who both catch the eye of the beautiful Lauren (Reese Witherspoon).  But instead of one backing off and letting the other have her, they decide to fight each other and use their secret agent skills to stalk the poor girl who doesn’t seem to mind all of the unhealthy attention.  Lauren just decides to take the advice of her obnoxiously shallow best friend (Chelsea Handler) and date both of the guys, before having sex with each of them to determine which one is better in the bedroom.

Directed with a frantic style by the aptly named McG, This Means War is a mash-up of a dumb action movie and a lame romantic comedy.  The fact that main villain Heinrich (Til Schweiger) is never developed past a European stereotype just adds to the pointlessness of it all.  The scenes of violent combat are clumsily constructed, disturbingly void of all real life repercussions, and the love triangle storyline is more creepy and annoying than it is romantic.  Both sides never really feel like parts of the same whole.  There are maybe one or two amusing moments between Tom Hardy and Chris Pine, and I’ve always liked Reese Witherspoon, but This Means War unfortunately fails to ignite.

The Blu-ray includes commentary with McG, a gag reel and bachelorette party feature, six deleted scenes as well as a couple of alternate endings.

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This Means War DVD Review By Erin V.  

** (out of 4)

Agents FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy), are both best friends, fellow spies, and fall in love with the same girl.  But when they find out that Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) is the one they’ve both just had a first date with, they decide not to tell her that they know each other, and instead lay out some ground rules and ‘let the best man win.’  Then, in order to gain the upper hand, they both start searching for ‘intel’ on her, while she continues to carelessly lead the two of them on.

It’s not that the crazy premise never would have worked – but it would have required a delicate balance.  What we get ends up being two guys stalking the same woman (with hidden cameras and the like), her not really caring when she eventually finds out, and a film that’s biggest fault isn’t even that.  You could overlook that in a great movie, but this feels like a film that isn’t even sure of its genre.  I’m all for genre bending and blending – done right.  But when this film takes action turns (literally they just come on like commercial breaks), the fast-paced, high body count – although virtually bloodless – violence feels like a video game, and during the rom-com stuff, the connections between the guys and Lauren don’t seem strong enough that they would lose their own friendship over it.

Chris Pine and Tom Hardy do act very well together though, and are believable as two guys who practically grew up together.  It would have been more fun to just see a better movie about these two guys in the CIA and leave the rest out.  Either that, or lose the spy/stalking thing and just make it about two guys who are best friends and fall in love with the same girl.  There were a few, (and only a few), genuinely funny moments, along with too much here that wasn’t meshed properly.  It’s worth a rental if you’re curious or you like the actors, but in all reality, I found myself wishing they’d made a different film.

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This Means War DVD Review By Nicole

** (out of 4)

Sometimes a trailer looks better than the movie.  This Means War is one of those cases.  When Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), a lonely woman who wishes to land a date, her friend Trish (Chelsea Handler) suggests online dating.  She winds up meeting single dad Tuck (Tom Hardy), but the same day she meets a bachelor named FDR (Chris Pine).  Liking both of them, she decides to date them simultaneously.  Little does she know that Tuck and FDR are not only cousins, but CIA agents as well.  The two friends embark on a high tech stalking contest on who can gather the most information on Lauren in the creepiest way possible.  Whoever is the best stalker gets the girl.

As well as being expert stalkers, the spying friends are embarking on some spy mission that we never find out about.  Why is Heinrich (Til Schweiger) a bad guy and what is his evil plan?  Not knowing what he is doing makes the action sequences and, quite frankly, the whole spy plot pointless.  The bloodless yet high body count just adds to the fact that Tuck and FDR are nothing more than stereotypical good looking psychopaths.  While Tom Hardy, Chris Pine and Reese Witherspoon are all good, I would much rather have seen them in a good action comedy.

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This Means War DVD Review By Maureen

** (out of 4)

The basic premise of This Means War sounds like a lot of romantic fun.  What’s not to like about two good looking guys vying for the affections of the same pretty woman?  Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) is a single woman working as a product tester.  Encouraged by her married friend Trish (Chelsea Handler), Lauren signs up with an online dating site.  The first guy she meets is a good looking British “travel agent” and single father named Tuck (Tom Hardy).  The pair hit it off, but that same day Lauren runs into another good looking and equally charming guy, FDR (Chris Pine) at a DVD rental store.  Faced with the appealing option of getting to know both men better Lauren, again with encouragement from best friend Trish, decides to juggle dating two guys at the same time.  What Lauren doesn’t realize is that Tuck and FDR are best friends and CIA agents.

What lost me in This Means War is the lengths to  which Tuck and FDR go to competing for Lauren.  For these two guys, this is war.  Each in turn they use expensive high-tech spyware to gather information on Lauren, watch her every move and interfere with each other’s date time.  If these guys weren’t CIA agents, their behaviour would be called old fashioned stalking.  It’s all a little too creepy for my liking.  All while the spying and wooing is going on, the CIA agents still have to take down an Eastern European bad guy (Til Schweiger).  The violence, though bloodless, seems a little excessive in what’s supposed to be a romantic comedy.

The main appeal of This Means War is the likability of the three lead actors.  If only they had been put together in a different movie.  Still, this is worth a rental for fans of the leads.

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This Means War DVD Review By Tony

*1/2 (out of 4)

This Means War is a love triangle where the two suitors for the fair Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) happen to be spy partners Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine). Their opening scene in a Hong Kong casino leaves a number of bodies behind including one of the two brothers targeted. The survivor Heinrich (Til Schweiger) escapes to exact his revenge at the end.

We then see Tuck back home as the non-custodial parent of ten year old Joe (John Paul Ruttan), encouraged by the playboy FDR to try hooking up online. Herself on the rebound, Lauren has a provocative profile placed on the same dating site by her vulgar bff Trish (Chelsea Handler). With FDR close by as backup,Tuck and Lauren share a tentative but encouraging first encounter, but just after leaving Tuck, Lauren happens to run into FDR who manages to also arrange a followup meeting. Back at work realizing they are after the same woman, Tuck and FDR agree to a friendly competition, while Lauren strings them both along unaware of their mutual acquaintance.

With attractive lead characters and a happy ending, this could have been a nice romantic comedy, like How Do You Know, which also had Witherspoon at the apex of a triangle, but the espionage keeps getting in the way. The brief action scenes move too quickly and despite the high casualty rate are as bloodless as a kid’s video game. However, what is really disturbing is the overall sense of voyeurism as both agents spare no expense using all the resources of The Company to monitor every action and conversation, however intimate, of their quarry while sabotaging each other’s efforts to go too far with her. As a result, This Means War is just too creepy for its own good.

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Consensus: Despite the likability of actors Chris Pine, Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon, This Means War is sometimes more creepy than appealing as it awkwardly mixes a stale romantic comedy with a poorly staged action film.  *3/4 (Out of 4)

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