If that's what it wanted to be, it would have had the female on equal footing. Reese Witherspoon's character is never on equal footing, not in terms of knowing what's going on, not in terms of screen time, not in any manner.
Chris Pine and Tom Hardy are best friends who work together at the CIA. And they end up both falling for Reese.
Tom Hardy is divorced with a kid. His wife couldn't take the unexplained nonsense. She didn't know he was a CIA agent.
She can't decide who to go for.
Her friend Chelsea Handler offers some advice.
And that's good because Chelsea's one of the few legitimately funny things about the film. Tom Hardy is often very funny. You sort of wish that he'd ditched Reese and ran off with Chelsea instead.
In "Star Trek" and "Carriers," he was very good. Here, he's got more of an idea to play than a character. SPOILER: He ends up with Reese.
So the script will only take him up to a line and won't let him really cross it. This reduces Pine to a stock figure when he could play zany and the film needs zany.
I like the film and it's worth watching once. I think you can find levels in Chelsea and Tom's work that make it worth watching again.
But mainly, the film suffers from a poor script. Not bad, just not worth filming. It's like the other recent Reese film with Jack Nicholson, "How Do You Know?" -- good but not good enough to film. They should have worked harder on the script.
What saved "This Means War" in spots was that Chelsea was clearly adlibbing. There's a whole bit where she's going on about Chris Pine's "manstink," and explaining, 'but the good kind.' And you can tell she's ad-libbing. How come?
It's actually funny.
Any lines that are truly funny come from her mouth and you know Chelsea had to write them.
Tom Hardy is genuinely funny but he does that more with his body and his expressions. The script lets everyone down.
My one major complaint is that it seems obvious that Chelsea Handler's character was supposed to be played by an ugly woman. I don't think Chelsea is ugly. But there are comments made about her character and so they obviously intended for her to be ugly. Maybe overweight? And that would explain the ha-ha that doesn't come when the guys pull Reese out of the out of control car and leave Chelsea in it.
There are some really awful moments in this film. And that they had Chelsea to fix at least some of it with her adlibs is something they should be on their knees thanking Jesus for.
Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"