If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if you took two charismatic young stars in the prime of their careers and threw them into a movie that made absolutely no attempt to provide them with something to work with, then this is the film for you. A decent-enough concept that never gets off the ground, This Means War stands as an exercise in lazy futility with no hint of ambition.
FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) are lifelong friends who work together as CIA agents. While on desk assignment after an operation goes wrong, Tuck, a hopeless romantic, enrolls in an online dating site and gets setup with Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), a market researcher with a painful relationship history. Shortly after their successful first date, Lauren runs into FDR (no explanation is ever given for his ridiculous name) and strikes up a playful conversation with the consummate lady’s man, eventually settling on a date. When FDR and Tuck discover that they’re dating the same woman, their friendship is put to the test as they engage in an all-out war to win Lauren over. But while the two friends put everything on the line for one woman, an old nemesis arrives in town looking for revenge.
More importantly, though, the plot, action, and dialogue contained within This Means Warare laughably ineffective and amateurish. Director McG made a name for himself with TV shows like The OC and more recently Chuck and This Means War proves that old habits die hard. I like Chuck and I’ve always found it to be a fun show but what works on TV doesn’t always (or usually) work in a movie. Unfortunately, this movie plays out like a giant, excessively long episode of Chuck that never aspires to do anything new, fresh, or even overly entertaining. At times it can be fun but only when Pine and Hardy are both on screen and even then, only in short doses. So much more could have been done with what McG had to work with but in many ways it never seems like he had any desire to create a film that had any semblance of cinematic value.