McG has always been pretty much hit and miss. Well, not hit and miss per se; he hits every time but the quality of that hit only really makes it to first base, never coming close to a home run (to use an embarrassingly bad analogy). He’s directed the Charlie’s Angels movies, the [mostly] uninspiring Terminator Salvation and has been behind television shows such as angsty The O.C. and spy-comedy, Chuck. These were enjoyable for what they were supposed to be but were, for the most part, also stamped with far too many lingering shots of women jiggling their jugs, cringeworthy humour, OTT action and plots that bordered on the inconceivable.
This Means War appears to be more of the same from good ol’ McG: two male spies fancy a lady, the lady sells herself out dating both of them and we watch as all morals collapse into nothingness as the two professionals quickly turn into children with the power of the CIA behind them as they fight not for love, but for laughs, bragging rights and, well, Reese Witherspoon (oh, wow, winner). I’ve read tweets calling for the film to have been released on February 14th because they think this is a romantic film. Spoiler alert: it is not. Not remotely. But it is a hoot.
Packed with emasculating humour and the aforementioned boobs and action, This Means War is an enjoyable film at best. Surprisingly, it may be one of McG’s better outings as the cheesiness of it never really quite reaches the unbearable embarrassment of Charlie’s Angels or The O.C. Obviously, however, such corny laughs just aren’t for everyone as was proved to me by the gentleman I was sat next to whom barely cracked a smile whilst the rest of the auditorium was heaving with guilty laughter at some of the film’s more funny moments.
The surprises keep rolling as what I had assumed would be the worst part of This Means War (the casting of such talents as Captain James T. Kirk and Charles Bronson in a ‘romcom’) actually turns out to be a spot of excellence. Like the success of Gerard Butler before him, Tom Hardy’s tough guy image paired with his Britishness immediately makes you wonder why he hasn’t been in more comedy films before and Chris Pine is just a sexy hunk with a sharp tongue whom I’m sure all the ladies of today’s generation “well fancy”. On the female batting team is Reese Witherspoon who puts in an okay performance as the ‘lucky’ lady but Chelsea Handler’s arrogant best friend role is just genius, stealing any scene she’s in, and then there’s also the cute Rosemary Harris (Aunt May, people!) who I just wanted to hug and never let go of.
Going to see This Means War is a bit like when you go clubbing and realize you could have just as much fun at home with a cup of tea, but you still enjoy all the incomprehensible goings on in front of you as the overlaid heavy beats of techno and rap attempt to destroy your ears – because McG still thinks he’s 14, obviously. You might regret not seeing it at the cinema with friends but shame on you if you enjoy it just as much when you make the guilty pleasure purchase of it on DVD.