This Means War: You only love twice

This Means WarOne is always hesitant to bad-mouth the CIA, especially in a public setting like the Internet, because you know that they know what you said.  But I don’t think I really have to worry about it too much because they are probably too preoccupied fighting with each other and wasting millions of government dollars while using intelligence satellites in an effort to score with some unassuming hot blonde. That’s the premise behind This Means War, and really, with the collective national security resources at your disposal, who wouldn’t focus their energy and attention on a scantily clad Reese Witherspoon?

Ms. Witherspoon (Legally Blonde) plays Lauren, a lonely professional woman who was burned by her man after a move to the big city. At the urging of her friend Trish (Chelsea Handler), Lauren decides to begin dating again and finds herself caught in a love triangle between CIA operatives Tuck (Tom Hardy/Bane in The Dark Knight Rises), who she meets through an online dating service, and FDR (Chris Pine/James T. Kirk from Star Trek) who she meets in a video rental store (CIA Trivia – Back when they existed, video stores were well known haunts for CIA spooks.)

When the CIA pals realize they are both vying for the affections of the same gal, they make a gentleman’s agreement with ground rules that allow for the best man to win. But soon after, the rules are thrown to the GSA approved shredder and it is all-out ‘war’ between the two spies. There is also an underlying convoluted plot, involving some foreign baddy with a beef for the two agency buddies, that bookends the movie and occasionally ads some unnecessary filler under the guise of tension.

The 2012 movie season is not painting a very pretty picture of ‘the agency.’ So far this year we’ve had rogue agents and treasonous scandals in Haywire and Safe House, and now with This Means War we have government agents that are portrayed as being completely unprofessional, unethical and wasteful womanizers. Doesn’t Hollywood know this is an election year?

This Means War is a “date-movie” being released Valentine’s Day weekend with the intent of capturing that audience, and I think that plan will probably work.  This film does a pretty good job at being a “chick-flick” that men will enjoy, and it is with a heavy conscious that I admit I had fun at this movie.  But the creators, including director McG (Terminator Salvation), may have cast their net too wide, as my wife absolutely hated this film and they lost her with the movie’s cartoonish pandering to the guy audience.

This is definitely a movie that requires you to check your brain and common sense at the door in order to have a good time. If you can do that, and if you have no problem with the extravagant waste of taxpayer dollars in the pursuit of lust and love, then you can have some light-hearted laughs at This Means War, but you may want to consider leaving your girl at home.

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About the author

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Bob Leeper

Bob Leeper is the co-owner and manager of "Arizona’s Pop Culture and Alternative Art Network," Evermore Nevermore. He is the co-creator of the pop culture events Steampunk Street and ENCREDICON, and is a member of the Phoenix Film Critics Society. He also curates the Facebook fan site The Arizona Cave – AZ Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs, and is one of the few brave and bold fans of Jar Jar Binks.

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