Making the Grades
If neglecting your duty to intercept an international arms dealer and instead squandering government personnel and resources on a personal agenda is funny, then This Means War should be hilarious.
Hot on the trail of a Russian mobster named Heinrich (Til Schweiger), CIA agents FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy) share more than a common work goal. The pair, who survived a botched mission in Afghanistan, have become good buddies as well. But all that changes when they discover they are dating the same woman. Suddenly Heinrich is all but forgotten while the confirmed womanizer FDR assumes he can easily outplay his partner Tuck who hasn’t dated since his divorce. Although they agree to let the best man win when it comes to love, each resorts to using highly sophisticated agency surveillance equipment and officers to spy on the other’s activities—some of which get a little steamy.
Meanwhile, having not one but two guys (whose friendship she is unaware of) after her is almost more than nerdy product tester Lauren Scott (Reese Witherspoon) can believe. A little unsure on the dating front, she seeks advice from her friend Trish (Chelsea Handler) who makes matrimony and married sex look as inviting as a root canal. Still the chance to live vicariously through Lauren is enough to keep Trish dishing out relationship suggestions—most often with plenty of sexually charged dialogue and innuendo.
However for a film aimed squarely at women who would kill to find themselves in a similar predicament, this production contains plenty of brutal fistfights, explosive encounters and gunfire that result in death or injury. (Maybe that is to mollify the men who get dragged into this movie for date night.) Previously rated R for sexual content, the script also includes frequent and descriptive suggestive dialogue and innuendo, along with some depictions of sexual activity that not only glamorize casual sex but also crude sexual humor.
Unfortunately these government agents spend too much time lying about themselves and playing down right dirty with each other to be entertaining for long. And while the battles wage on the screen, it soon feels like it is the audience’s intelligence that is under assault in This Means War.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about This Means War.
Does the property damage seem less important since there are no consequences shown for it? How would employers likely view these men’s actions when it comes to misusing company property and personnel?
How are both men dishonest with Lauren? What do you think about her decision to use sexual relations as a tiebreaker? Should that be the ultimate deciding factor in a long-term relationship? Which one of the men kept his gentlemen’s promise? What does that say about him? What does it say about the other man? What are the most important qualities when it comes to building trust in a relationship?
Why might this film have more appeal to women than men? How does a female fantasy film differ from a male fantasy film?