THIS MEANS WAR. Starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Top Hardy, Til Schweiger.Directed by McG. Rated M (Sexual references, action violence and coarse language). 98 minutes.
Despite the bellicose title, this seems to be a perfect date film!
It starts with action, villains, explosions, derring-do agents in a Hong Kong setting. The men who like this kind of stuff reeled in.
The two young agents are played by Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, initially charming, even over-smooth but soon revealed as he-men. The women who are attracted to the stars and this kind of image reeled in.
But, back home in LA, the romantic comedy style sets in. Chris Pine is a bachelor on the loose. Tom Hardy is separated and has a young son. We are then introduced to Reese Witherspoon, a wiz on testing the efficiency of products, whose wise-cracking, sounding-permissive-but-happily-married friend (Chelsea Handler) has posted her on a dating web-site. The next complications lead to her meeting Hardy, then meeting Pine, and liking them both. When they discover what has happened, ‘this means war’!
This is a romantic comedy with the surveillance and technological intervention means of a covert agency at their disposal to spy on each other and sabotage dates. But, of course, the villain comes to LA to get them which, of course, leads to chases (with an unwitting Reese Witherspoon along for the rides) and all kinds of heroics and explosions. She has to choose – and if you are alert to the formula, it is clear on paper, if not convincingly, which hero she will choose.
Happy endings all round – and those who have seen it on a date movie outing acknowledging that it worked for them!
Fr Peter Malone MSC is an associate of the Australian Catholic Office for Film & Broadcasting.
20 Century Fox.
Out February 16 2012.