Thursday, February 16, 2012

Movie Review - This Means War

Ah, the romantic comedy...could always go either way and be a hit or a flop. My wife and I decided to risk it and went to see This Means War for part of our Valentine's Day festivities. The trailer was pretty fun and the premise had potential.

The basic idea as shown in the trailer is that 2 CIA agents happen to be dating the same girl. She doesn't know that they know each other and they decide to compete for her affection without letting on that they know each other. As time goes on, they use all sorts of spy gadgets and techniques to try and undermine the other relationship.

I was a little surprised to see the degree they went in the development of the CIA theme. We knew the guys were agents going in, but the initial setup is something out of an action movie as they infiltrate a Hong Kong skyrise to try and intercept some big baddies.

There's a big shootout action scene that leads to plenty of setup for later in the film. It was quickly easy to see how this early scene would be used later in the film. I think this was there partly to "throw a bone" to the uber-manly-men going to a romantic comedy for the sake of their ladies and being relieved to find some explosive action. Still, I felt like the action went a step beyond being just shoot-em-up filler and worked to be engaging and fun.

Anyway, after the initial action sequence, we get to know our female lead. She's quirky but still fits snugly into the mold of many leads in films like this. She's smart, friendly, wealthy (as evidenced by her home and position in her company) and very cute...and naturally single and awkward around guys. She has a married friend who gives inappropriate yet applicable advice but is otherwise alone in the world (except for her hunky ex-boyfriend who she simply stumbles around).

Finally, the characters start dating and comedy ensues. There is less overall interaction than the preview made me believe. In fact, it is largely a lot of reconaisance work rather than actual interference (though there is some of that as well). So rather than playing off a lot of spy-vs-spy slapstick situational comedy, this ends up having some decent sequences of character building and interaction. Though the situational and physical comedy was a lot of fun when it happened.

The romance between the characters felt natural (albeit contrived thanks to the surveillance and research done by the male suitors) and the characters had a fair amount of on-screen chemistry. 

Interestingly I felt that the greatest chemistry was actually between the two male leads rather than between either of them and the lady they were pursuing. The guys just felt so comfortable and natural working with each other and their interactions were fun, smooth and believable.

I really enjoyed the writing in this film. There was plenty of outrageous and shocking dialog that was delivered so simply and naturally that, while it was still surprising, it made me laugh out loud a number of times (always a good thing for a comedy, yes?). The fast paced physical action was a lot of fun and was well played.

A lot of the spy action and technology was naturally stretched beyond believability but worked in terms of our acceptance levels for these types of film. The overall relationship setup and delivery was done well and the ending was satisfying. While I don't know that I'd watch this movie over and over, it was a lot of fun and I'd watch it again if the opportunity presented itself.

3.5 out of 5 stars


Today's Quote from Quoting Quotes:


1 comment:

Brian Miller said...

nice...we def want to see this so its great to get an early review on it... thanks man