Wednesday, February 22, 2012

This Means War

"This Means War" belongs to that infinite pool of movies that take place entirely in Movieland, where everything everybody says and does rings totally false - and they talk non-stop, because the screenwriter wrongly believes he's witty or clever. This movie's conception of the workings of a CIA field office must be seen to be believed - it's staggeringly absurd - and the alternatingly unctuous and puppyish Chris Pine is no more plausible as a top operative than I am as a runway model. (His character's name is FDR, and nobody in this movie's universe seems to find that at all unusual.) Somewhat more masculine and appealing is Tom Hardy as the almost-as-ridiculously named Tuck, FDR's partner and bromantic rival for the affections of the cloying Reese Witherspoon (who has the everyday Movieland job of consumer product tester). This is the sort of picture where two people can engage in a brutal gunfight in one shot and not have a scratch on them in the next. It was slapped together so hurriedly nobody cared about getting it right, from continuity to anything resembling actual human emotion or experience. Chelsea Handler as Witherspoon's vulgar, keeping-it-real best friend provides the movie's only lightness and laughter; she's a bracing tonic to its wearying, leaden formula.

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