This best thing about romantic comedies is that no one expects award winning performances. They are guilty pleasures to be enjoyed for what they are – fun and frivolous. As long as there are strong, likable lead characters with chemistry and the writing isn’t brutal, then it is easy to please.
This Means War fits the bill. Reese Witherspoon is in her prime comfort zone and Chris Pine and Tom Hardy have great chemistry with each as well as with Witherspoon. This is the kind of role we love to see Witherspoon in. Pine is perfect in the rakish role and Hardy actually brings a degree if depth to a character that could have been boring. There is very little not to like in this film as long as your expectations are realistic. Throw in the ever amusing Chelsea Handler and there is a lot to like.
A key to success for films in the rom-com genre is for there to be a unique angle – a presentation with a bit of a twist. It isn’t rocket science. We all now there is going to be a happy outcome one way or another. This Means War pairs the rom-com with action and espionage. The plot line on the spy side is as thin as a super model on a heroine diet during runway season. There is not much substance there. The rom-com portion of this picture is where all the meat is and it is like an all-you can-eat rib buffet.
This movie is funny. If you were humored by the trailers then you will be entertained in the theater. The audience chuckled, chortled, and laughed out loud throughout the movie. The boyish antics of our two leading mean were amusing even as they misused government assets and infringed on the civil rights of our lovely leading lady. It never seemed mean or cruel and the mood stayed light. Handler’s best friend role was particularly funny to me as she doled as out advice as only a married person can hand it out to a single friend.
No one is going to remember the movie on Oscar night but if you want to have fun and be entertained for a couple of hours then you could do much worse (The Bounty Hunter). It will also make a great movie night when it hits the shelves on DVD. There is a little bit of violence at the beginning and the end and a spattering of suggestive language here and there but nothing graphic in either case. It would fun for the whole family except for maybe children under ten or eleven. If you like romantic comedies, you won’t be disappointed with this fare.
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