PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Movie Guy

February 17, 2012

Cupid strikes out with 'War'

— “This Means War” is being sold as an action-heavy romantic-comedy—a Valentine’s date night movie that men will actually want to see. Unfortunately, the action part of this movie is border-line incoherent, the comedy is mediocre at best and the romance dies because the leads have no chemistry.

At least the story has an interesting twist on its love triangle base. Two CIA agents (Chris Pine and Tom Hardy) fall for the same woman (Reese Witherspoon). The guys are best friends and coworkers, so they strike a gentleman’s agreement with regards to the courtship. They say “May the Best Man Win,” but in their hearts they are really thinking that “all’s fair in love and war.” The two agents employ all the resources of the CIA in order to get the girl and stymie the other guy. It’s basically an hour of voyeurism, stalking and abuse of the Patriot Act, but because it’s part of a romantic comedy, we’re supposed to accept this as light and frothy fun.

It’s not.

Directed by McG, the film plays like one of the MTV videos that made him famous way back when. This is all surface-level spectacle and quick cuts. The opening action scene in particular is so poorly shot and edited that it’s nearly impossible to tell what’s going on in the scene. The characters don’t fare any better, as they are mostly simplistic caricatures gussied up with Hollywood wardrobes and stylists. Reese Witherspoon (who I generally adore) begins as a sharp businesswoman, but ultimately ends up playing her role as if she were an insecure teenager. It’s not surprising that there aren’t any romantic sparks between her and either of the guys.

The closest that the film comes to actual chemistry is between the two men, who have a fun bromance thing going on. They are both soft puppy dogs hiding between a macho exterior and it’s a lot of fun to watch them banter and bicker about who’s going to get the girl. Perhaps it would have been a better film if they’d just ditched Witherspoon’s character and simply gone off with each other, but good luck selling that movie to the American public.

“This Means War” does have a few redeeming spots. Foul-mouthed comedienne Chelsea Handler is amusing, and a paintball sequence is genuinely funny. The actors look good and the film is mercifully fast-paced and short. That being said, you can’t expect a successful outcome if you make an action flick/romantic comedy without regular humor, thrilling action and actual romance. The film goes 0 for 3 on its main selling points. Sorry Cupid, but your latest Valentine movie is a strike out.

Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and seen weekly on KFDM-TV and KBOI 2-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at smcbride@kboi2.com.

1
Text Only
Movie Guy
  • Les Miz.jpg Beloved Broadway musical shines on big screen

    “Les Misérables”
    Universal Pictures
    Directed by Tom Hooper.
    Starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Eddie Redmayne, Samantha Barks, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter
    Rated PG-13
    3 1/2 Stars

    December 21, 2012 1 Photo

  • Dredd 3D copy.jpg Second time’s the charm for Judge Dredd

    “Dredd 3D”
    Lionsgate Films
    Directed by Pete Travis
    Starring Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby, Lena Headey, Wood Harris and Domhnall Gleeson
    Rated R
    3 Stars

    September 26, 2012 1 Photo

  • End of Watch.jpg ‘End of Watch’ a macho love letter to LAPD

    “End of Watch”
    Open Road Films
    Directed by David Ayer
    Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Peña, Anna Kendrick, America Ferrara, Cody Horn and David Harbour.
    Rated R
    3 Stars

    September 21, 2012 1 Photo

  • Res Evil copy.jpg New Resident Evil stale repetition

    September 19, 2012 1 Photo

  • Cold Light copy.jpg Shouldn’t have seen ‘Light of day’

    “The Cold Light of Day”
    Summit Entertainment
    Directed by Mabrouk El Mechri
    Starring Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis, Sigourney Weaver and Roschdy Zem
    Rated PG-13
    1 Star  

    September 14, 2012 1 Photo

  • Hit and Run copy.jpg “Hit and Run” is hit and miss

    “Hit and Run”
    Open Road Pictures
    Directed by Dax Shepard and David Palmer
    Starring Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold, Kristin Chenoweth and Beau Bridges
    Rated R

    2 Stars

    August 24, 2012 1 Photo

  • ParaNorman.jpg “ParaNorman” is silly and scary fun

    “ParaNorman”
    Focus Features
    Directed by Chris Butler and Sam Fell
    Starring Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, John Goodman, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck and Christopher Mintz-Plasse
    Rated PG
    3 1/2 Stars

    August 17, 2012 1 Photo

  • BourneLegacy.jpg New “Bourne” doesn’t live up to his legacy

    “The Bourne Legacy”
    Universal Pictures
    Directed by Tony Gilroy
    Starring Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton, Scott Glenn, Stacy Keach and Donna Murphy
    Rated PG-13
    2 ½ Stars

    August 13, 2012 1 Photo

  • Total Recall.jpg ‘Recall’ remake not as memorable as original 

    “Total Recall”
    Columbia Pictures
    Directed by Len Wiseman
    Starring Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston, Bokeem Woodbine, Bill Nighy and John Cho
    Rated PG-13
    2 Stars

    August 3, 2012 1 Photo

  • IceAge.jpg ‘Ice Age’ floats on towards mediocrity

    “Ice Age: Continental Drift”
    Fox Animation
    Directed by Steve Martino
    Starring Ray Romano, Denis Leary, Seann William Scott, Jennifer Lopez, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifah, Wanda Sykes, Peter Dinklage, Chris Wedge and Keke Palmer
    Rated PG
    2 Stars

    July 13, 2012 1 Photo

Video
Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast
Facebook
Sports Tweets
Photos