“This Means War” is a romantic comedy action film directed by McG. It stars Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy.

CIA agents FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are best friends and work partners. Their characters are formulaic. FDR is a womanizer who has yet to commit to a woman. Tuck is a family man who has a young son with his ex-wife and tries to maintain a close relationship with the two of them, despite often being pushed away. When they both fall for the same girl, Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), their friendship is put to the test as they each pull all the shots to win her over.

The agents actually bug Lauren’s house and cell phone so they can be in constant awareness of her conversations and private life. Because she does not know that the two are friends, they each continue to take her on dates that seem too good to be true. This is because they listen to Lauren talking to her best friend and confidant Trish (Chelsea Handler), critiquing their personalities and dates.

As a blend of action, romance and comedy, the film unsuccessfully attempts to do it all.
It wouldn’t even be fair to say that the action gives the romantic comedy an unexpected twist, because the cheesiness was so incredibly overwhelming. When watching the action scenes and awful “confidential CIA screen” transitions, I was immediately taken back to the “Spy Kids” movies I enjoyed so much during my childhood. Yes, it was actually that terrible. The action plotline was virtually nonexistent and completely secondary to the pressing matter of Lauren’s need to make a decision between the two men she is dating. Pine and Hardy were far from convincing as CIA agents. Their performance would have been sub-par for the Disney Channel. The humor was forced, and the audience rarely laughed.

I want so badly to like Reese Witherspoon as an actress because she seems like a genuinely sweet person. This is probably why she is perfect to play the leading female role in so many romantic comedies. I’m not convinced the roles she takes are too far from her own personality. These roles require no depth, and Witherspoon can do what she does best—win the audience over with her cuteness. “This Means War” is no exception. Witherspoon was charming and by far the most entertaining character to watch. But her character didn’t seem to have any flaws or internal struggles beyond deciding which guy she should date. In the end, she makes a decision that seems completely arbitrary and the audience remains uninvested in the outcome.

“This Means War” was mind bogglingly terrible, even for a formulaic romantic comedy film. If you have an ounce of respect for your own taste in entertainment, you will skip it.

1 star