More secret agents appear in a pharmacologically induced state of general anesthesia called This Means War. A hack called simply McG, who perpetrated on the world such forgettable trash wallows as two idiotic Charlie’s Angels movies and Terminator Salvation, is hardly the professional you want around to monitor the dosage. The result is 98 minutes of moronic stupidity already being labeled on the Internet as “the worst movie of the year.” A premature assessment? Maybe. It’s only February. But after This Means War, one thing is certain: The year has nowhere to go but up.
Tuck (Tom Hardy, the tattooed Muscle McGurk from England who surprised everybody in Warrior) and FDR (Chris Pine) are best buds and inseparable partners who throw people off the roofs of buildings, smash up cities and declare war on entire enemy nations. Nothing can come between them, including the CIA database, which they use illegally to research girls. Nothing, that is, until they fall for the same girl, a motor mouth product researcher, whatever that is, played by the once-discriminating but no longer fresh or versatile Reese Witherspoon. Suddenly it’s a fight to the double bed to see which one wears Brut and which one wears patchouli. Using top-secret classified files and video-surveillance equipment at the CIA field office in Los Angeles, they break every law to spy on each other right up to and including in Ms. Witherspoon’s bedroom. One pretends to be a travel agent. The other passes himself off as a ship’s captain. And she’s dumb enough to believe them both. It’s not clear which one she will choose after a night in the Porthault linen, but you get a good idea when she tells her sluttish nymphomaniac girlfriend about Mr. Pine, “Four in one night!” She’s talking orgasms, not tequila shots.
As CIA operatives, Mr. Hardy and Mr. Pine have all the credibility of Abbott and Costello. For two-thirds of the movie, nothing happens to write home about. Then, just when the movie is gasping its final death rattle, the international assassin whose brother was killed on one of their bungled missions in Hong Kong arrives, and the three stars spend the rest of the running time doing just that—running, smashing up the freeway, destroying cars and public property, blowing up trucks and helicopters and … but why go on? If undercover spies for the CIA spend every waking hour of the day and night using government property to act like imbeciles, I shudder to think what Homeland Security will do to protect the country in an emergency. I know this is a desperate farce without a laugh in sight, but the movie is dead on arrival and not even Ms. Witherspoon can save it. It is, however, high time she started thinking about saving herself—and what’s left of her film career.
THIS MEANS WAR
Running Time 98 minutes
Written by Timothy Dowling and Simon Kinberg
Directed by McG
Starring Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine and Tom Hardy