“When I first saw the trailer for This Means War, my initial thought was something like “”ugh, rom-com, but ooooh pretty boys””. And then there was some confusion along the lines of “”but action movie? AND rom-com? Jigga what?”” But as time went on and I saw the trailer a few more times, the action side (and the pretty boys) won out and this went from a reluctant maybe to a hell yes with a slight hesitation. Part of that was also realizing that the director is McG, who I associate with action movies. But then I realized that his oeuvre includes both Charlie’s Angels which probably have some of the worst, over the top action sequences in any movie that could have afforded to do much better. On the walk over, I was reminded about Mr & Mrs Smith, another romantic action movie (as rare as this mashup combination is) and that I enjoyed that one (and I just found out they have a screenplay writer in common, mind = blown). Step in the right direction. And then while I was munching on a hot dog and an Icee during the Ferris Bueller car commercial I remembered that the trailer for Bridesmaids last year was uber girly but I enjoyed that one. Another point. Sometimes I over think these things.
Basically I went in hoping that the action would overshadow the romantic plot. But you know what overshadowed the action? The comedy. And that’s actually a good thing. I realized that a lot of the times, the movies I find the funniest aren’t those that set out to be comedies but ones that find the right balance of comic relief in its drama or action or whatever. I do often say I’m always on a constant search for the perfectly blended action comedy. This wasn’t quite it (the action was a little light), but OMG I was LOL-ing so much throughout the whole damn thing. There was just some really clever dialogue, and some spot on delivery from a really great cast. Sadly the action was a little lacking. It started out promising, but there really wasn’t all that much. Although the fun-with-CIA-toys was, well, fun!
For me, the other thing that really worked is that while the main plot was a love triangle, the focus was more on the rivalry between the guys, not the girl’s dilemma. (Kinda reminded me of Keeping the Faith, one of my faves, because that one really was about the friendship between the characters.) Even when you had scenes around her puzzling her predicament, the boys were usually watching, thus bringing the focus back to them. In retrospect, I can see how obvious her final decision was, but at the time I really wasn’t sure because I was more focused on the rivalry than the quandary.
And oh yes, those beautiful boys: Chris Pine and Tom Hardy. Both so suave and smooth and sumptuous. They played off each other so well, and were just so much fun to watch. As for Reese Witherspoon, when I saw that she was in this, I was a little sad for her. I was thinking between How Do You Know (ugh) and Water for Elephants and a few other recent choices, that this Academy Award winner was above such a questionable film. But that quickly went away
because she really did shine and brought the movie up a notch instead of the other way around. There were also a few happy surprises in the supporting cast: Inglorious Basterd and SLC Punk-er Til Schweiger, SNL f-bomb dropper and Marcel the Shell with Shoes On genius Jenny Slate (who we could have used more of), and the scene stealing trash mouth Chelsea Handler.
Oh also, pretty rocking soundtrack. Def the most clever use of Sabotage I can think of without putting too much effort into it!
Yeah so this was so much win. Probably my fave of the year so far (MI:4 counts as last year even though I saw it again this year), not that there’s been much to choose from, but its nice to actually come back from the movies really excited for once.
This Means War – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/