'This Means War' is a movie starring Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, and Tom Hardy which in itself should be enough to get anyone in to a movie theater. All three are great at what they do and this type of movie seems like a perfect fit for what each of them brings to the table.
Tuck (Hardy) and FDR Foster (Pine) make up a pair of elite CIA agents that take on international bad guys with both unparalleled style and skill. FDR is the smooth Bond-like persona and all around ladies man while Tuck is more of a down to earth person with goals of having a family.
Lauren (Witherspoon) is the woman that coincidentally and reluctantly enters both of the men's lives and, with some encouragement from her best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler) decides to date them both to determine which she will end up in a relationship with.
Meanwhile, the two guys discover they are dating the same woman and decide to not tell her they are best friends and co-workers and to let it play out with her having the final say on who she will end up with.
What starts out as a gentlemen's agreement quickly goes south and the two end up turning on each other with each employing their wealth of expertise and CIA assets in an attempt to gain an advantage.
What surprised me the most about this movie was just how much fun it was to watch. There is just enough action to justify the fact that these guys are big time CIA agents, but the focus is really on the comedy sparring between just about everyone in the movie. Witherspoon, who is about as likable of an onscreen personality as you will find, provides a lot of the highlights with a goofy performance that keeps you laughing.
The supporting cast features Chelsea Handler as Lauren's foul mouthed and overly blunt BFF, Angela Bassett as a CIA chief that I wish we could have seen more of, and Til Schweiger as a terrorist out for revenge.
Going in, I was thinking there might be a little more action, but I was not disappointed to find a really funny, although over the top, romantic comedy the likes of which we haven't seen before. Director, McG (Yes, that's his given name), is known for stuff like Terminator and Charlie's Angels movies and there is definitely a mass appeal sensibility to "This Means War" without ever feeling like its just gone too far over the edge.
What really makes the movie work is the extremely likable cast and a director that knows how to steer this type of material in the right direction. Yes, it does stretch the boundaries of believability in a lot of areas, but you're having so much fun, you don't even care.
Throughout the movie there were just as many oohs and aahs from the audience as there was laughter and you could just tell that everyone was having a great time. What really drove that point home for me was when, as I was walking out of the theater, one young girl in front of me very confidently proclaimed to her family that they will be buying the Blu Ray when it comes out and everyone, not just the family members, were all in total agreement.