Then the lads' alpha male surveillance instincts get the better of them, and a sour premise becomes a pretty ugly state of affairs. Double-entendres about "entering the premises" litter the script.
The fellows take turns foiling each other's sexual progress in increasingly elaborate and James Bondian ways, at immense expense to the American taxpayer. Their voyeuristic one-upmanship isn't amusing. It's more like none-upmanship. Occasionally the film lurches back to its B plot line, involving an international arms dealer (
Thanks to the success seven years ago of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," starring
The ideal audience for "This Means War" is anybody who enjoyed
Am I alone in resisting this subgenre of adorable assassins and their complicated love lives? Entertainments blending spiky comic repartee and outsize physical action (plus a formidable body count) tended to go down more easily in the Cold War days, when Alfred Hitchcock's
"This Means War" is pure, witless discombobulation. The director is
The superbright color palette is designed for high spirits, but the behavior of the alleged rooting interests is repellent, especially Pine's smug Lothario. Repartee does not come easily to the hugely talented Hardy, who always seems on the verge of a bloodbath.
And note to Witherspoon: "This Means War" is the sort of consumer product you're supposed to test before you win an Academy Award, not after.
'This Means War' -- 1 star
MPAA rating: PG-13 (for some sexual content including references, some violence and action, and for language)
Running time: 1:36