Review: This Means War can't balance rom-com and action tropes

by Ahmi Goldberg / Beacon Correspondent • February 15, 2012

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Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy
Photo Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox
Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon, Tom Hardy
Photo Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

A good romantic comedy is like a well mixed drink. There needs to be just the right amount of romance and comedy, not too much of one ingredient. Adding action can throw off the whole equation and leave to a bitter taste. In This Means War, a simple Gin and Tonic is turned into a frat party punch bowl.


Two best-friend CIA agents Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine) turn against each other when they discover that they have both fallen for, Lauren (Reese Witherspoon). Mixed with this already complicated concoction is the agent’s battle with mega-criminal Heinrich (Til Schweiger) who is out for revenge after the agents killed his brother. The film was directed by McG, who is no stranger to action films, having directed Charlie’s Angels and Terminator: Salvation.

McG’s talents as an action director go to waste, however. His skills don’t have a chance of saving the damage of Timothy Dowling and Simon Kinberg's shallow and unexciting script. The love triangle between Tuck, FDR, and Lauren is unexciting, bearable only because of the trio’s good looks and simmering tension.

Romance scenes are burdened by downright cheesy lines and moments. Tuck and Lauren go on a date where they find a trapeze, and after tumbling onto the safety net, Tuck turned to Lauren and says, “Sometimes falling is the best part.”

Humor was hard to find in the film. Repetitive jokes about FDR’s small hands, and Tuck’s British heritage provided a chuckle the first time they were told, but by the fifth time they became tired.

This Means War is an unfunny, unromantic, rom-com—a concoction that you might have to pinch your nose to swallow.