Unsuccessful mash-up of the rom-com and spy action genres
McG attempts to satisfy both sexes in This Means War – a testosterone-driven action meets girl-pleasing rom-com, that ends up not being good in either genre, despite featuring two of the hottest young actors around (Tom Hardy and Chris Pine) and a one-time Oscar winner (Reese Witherspoon).
Two lifelong friends turned CIA spies suddenly finding their loyalties tested when they fall for the same woman. What begins as a 'gentleman's rivalry' soon descends into something far more competitive with all of the agency's assets at their disposal.
Taken on its deeply superficial level This Means War provides some guiltily pleasurable laughs as Hardy and Pine find ever-humiliating ways to out do or thwart each other. But none of the plot developments stand up to close scrutiny while McG is more comfortable dealing with the testosterone-driven moments than anything more sensitive. Witherspoon is therefore poorly served by material that requires her to make an unconvincing transition from insecure romantic no-hoper to man-eating vamp and isn't aided by an on screen best friend (Chelsea Handler) who attempts comic guidance in a rude, post-Bridesmaids way which just ends up being obnoxious and offensive.
McG does at the very least keep viewers guessing about who will win this romantic tussle but it's debatable whether you'll care about or even agree with the outcome. His action scenes, meanwhile, are over-directed in the same way as his Charlie's Angels sequel and overall This Means War comes across as a missed opportunity.
General release from 2 Mar.