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This Means War


Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Chelsea Handler, Til Schweiger, Angela Bassett, Rosemary Harris, Abigail Leigh Spencer

Director: McG

Here's a film that wants to have it both ways: a Bond-style thriller and a romcom about two guys battling for the same girl. Along the way, as many boxes are ticked as possible: helter-skelter car chases (more than 100 stuntpersons are credited), explosions, fistfights, gun battles, seduction scenes, lovable children (and dogs) and even a little dirty talking, courtesy of the married best friend (Handler) of heroine Witherspoon.

Reese is looking for a man (hard to swallow, I know) and finds two at once in the forms of spy buddies Pine and Hardy, who are themselves being pursued by the brother (Schweiger) of the bad guy they've just killed.

Later, the two suitors fight, wrecking an entire posh restaurant, and obviously causing thousands of dollars worth of damages. But no one seems to bat an eyelid. Still, the film is plushly set and slickly made: it has the odd good line, too, although poor sound recording means that some of the dialogue is not the easiest to follow.

Star Trek's Pine is little more than a cipher here, and Britain's Hardy fares little better in his first mainstream Hollywood role. No, the star attraction is Witherspoon and, besides looking hot in some form-fitting dresses, she acquits herself pretty well. Critics grumbled among themselves on the way out, but a packed preview audience seemed to pretty much enjoy it.

David Quinlan

USA 2012. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
98 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 26 Feb 2012