Since seeing a trailer for This Means War late last year, I’ve been eagerly awaiting its release. So yesterday my husband and I went to see it with great expectations, despite the panning it’s been getting from critics. Critics don’t usually take comedy seriously. Yeah, I know that sounds funny—of course they don’t. What I mean is, critics generally don’t appreciate the skill it takes to write and perform humor with enough general appeal and expertise to make an audience laugh. How many comedies win best picture at the Oscars for instance? Writers, directors, and actors aren’t given the same credit for their comedic talent as those who make serious films or write serious plays and books. So I ignored their complaints and went with an open mind.
Here’s what I found—yes, in my opinion, the critics are right in some of their criticism. It has an over-the-top, implausible premise that was sometimes hard to get past. There wasn’t much covert about the way the heroes, Tuck and FDR, performed their clandestine jobs and they really abused their agency privileges. It’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t be fired for behaving like they do. The acting was good and enjoyable, but I had to agree with the critics that I didn’t really feel the chemistry between the Reese Witherspoon character and the two male leads. In fact, the love story fell flat for me, which, as a romance writer, was a real disappointment.
Judging from the movie preview selection—the upcoming Batman movie, for example, whose trailer soundtrack nearly rumbled me out of my seat –This Means War, although touted as a film both sexes will enjoy, is really geared more toward men. It’s not romantic in the way women typically enjoy like The Vow is. The two heroes seem to enjoy their competition with each other more than being genuinely in love with the girl they’re fighting over.
But the movie does deliver a fair share of laughs. Everyone around us seemed to enjoy it and we did, too. It was visually appealing, had some good explosions, some laughs, a few sort of tender moments. I hope Hollywood makes more action romantic comedies. A movie that appeals to both men and women really is a great idea.