‘This Means War’ (2012): A Silly But Fun Action Romance


Back when this appeared on the big-screen I was all jazzed up and ready to go see it. Then, as is always the case, turns out, I didn’t. Nonetheless when the DVD release came around, I did see This Means War. A cute albeit silly romantic-comedy.

This Means War (2012) Film Review

CIA spooks are subjected to rigorous training; they can handle almost anything… right? They’re skilled in hand-to-hand combat. Learn how to load and handle any weapon they may be asked to use, and are intelligent to boot. For FDR (Chris Pine) and Tuck (Tom Hardy), the two are not only some of Langley’s finest but are best buddies. After blowing a covert mission, they’re benched, leading them to do a whole lot of nothing at their desks.

When it comes to relationships, the two are vastly different. FDR flirts constantly while Tuck wants the kind of love that is still true even after 50 years. While Tuck joins a dating app, FDR meets a girl his charm doesn’t work on. Turns out, it’s the same girl. Little do the friends know that the girl they are dating is the one girl neither can get out of their head.

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Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) is a consumer product tester. A week ago she was a pathetic 30-something woman without a man. Now she has two men vying for her attention. Is it possible to love two people, she wonders. Tuck is the more kind-hearted romantic; he makes Lauren feel safe and is easy to talk with – plus he has a British accent. Then there is FDR. Sparks fly between her and the arrogant FDR, but she’s not impressed. This sets into motion a spy vs. spy rivalry that may just get messy.

As an actress, I like Witherspoon – a great deal. I think she has a cute girl-next-door personality that usually works in her favor in each role. Unfortunately that doesn’t completely save her in this particular situation because she annoys us for playing two guys against each other (albeit, unknowingly). Many critics were disgusted with this high-tech action flick for the idea that a woman dates two men. (Admittedly this conjures up a lot of unpleasant connotations – and says to me that society still has some scruples.) Another is that two guys would fight over here. I don’t have as difficult a time with this for a couple of reasons. One being I don’t take this any more serious that I believe its script meant it to be.

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Since I’ve sufficiently given appropriate space to the potential cons and flaws in the film, I’ll just come out and admit this: I loved this movie. It’s classier than I pegged it as being and there is some restraint when I expect it not to be. Like its peers, this one puts a lot of baggage in the character’s backgrounds. I feel like the film takes the time it needs to be a fun spy movie (in a way that doesn’t take itself too seriously), and also gives in to what it really is; a cute romantic-comedy (even if it doesn’t drip with chemistry). If you can watch this through a perspective in which you don’t objectify it by all its shoddy qualities, then This Means War is a great deal of fun.

For anyone who isn’t a fan of the cliché love triangle, that is one element made very obvious. It’s an important part of the script, and even still, this provided me with what I needed; some hearty laughs. There are clarifying moments that make us momentarily proud of Hollywood for recognizing the sanctity of true love and marriage, but there is always something around the next corner that seems to shatter that beauty. Bottom line, will I see this again? You bet. This Means War is definitely a more-than-once title that combined all of my favorite genres.

What are some of your favorite Reese Witherspoon films?

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

This Means War (2012) - A Silly But Fun Action Romance. A film review of the Reese Witherspoon romcom. All review text © Rissi JC

CONTENT: Lauren sleeps with both men [one scene shows her straddling him in nothing but her underwear and him in a state of undress – he is also lying in her bed the following morning]. Countless sexual references pepper the dialogue – including sexual references to the anatomy. Implications suggest CIA agents watch the security tapes of Lauren on her dates under orders to do so from both Tuck and FDR. Profanity includes one f-word, sh*t, a**, da*n, b*tch among others. There is plenty of immodest clothing and implications that FDR engages in multiple one-night stands. Opening the movie, one scene sees multiple men shot and killed [one falls off a skyscraper to his death]; one other scene climaxes in a car chase with gun fire and bullets flying. Characters drink alcohol. The film is PG13.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. Great review! I really liked this movie, moreso than I think I expected to. It does have some content issues but I think the likeability of the leads helped me overlook some of those (which, thankfully, are *mostly* resolved in a satisfactory manner). This aside, I think my fav Reese flick is still Sweet Home Alabama. :)

  2. TJ – thank you! My goal is to write honest review and be thorough – so I really appreciate your kind words!

    Me too! I LOVE that franchise. It is the movie that made Reese the name she is today.

    Juju – it was lots of fun. The more I read about it and thought about the premise, the less I figured I'd like it. Turns out, I REALLY (really) liked it.

    Yes, it is not available on DVD. ENJOY!

    Ruth – I'd agree with you. I think the cast made this lots easier to like. I wish that some of the situations had been handled with more decorum but overall, this was a winner – way fun!

    Sweet Home Alabama is still one of my very favorite rom-coms! I've watched it a lot! =)

    Charity – yes, I know.

    Just kidding – you are all good. ;D

    C.C. – oh! Thanks so much! =)

  3. Tory – I went back and forth as to whether I wanted to run this one through ClearPlay or not. In the end, I was happy to have done so. The beginning is a bit sketchy because there are quite a few cuts but after twenty minutes, it seems to even out and be better balanced. All around in future viewings I think I will chose again to edit it as it made the movie more enjoyable – easier to laugh at the good rather than frown on the bad. Hope you enjoy if you see it…

    Rachel – as do I! Reese is just adorable in every movie I've ever seen her in. Hopefully she will return to movie-making once her baby arrives. =)

    Only ever seen Chris Pine in one other thing but I really like him – in both roles. ;D


  4. The fact that Chris Pine was in this movie first caused the preview to catch my eye-Tom Hardy was an added bonus. I laughed through the first preview, but I don't know that I would actually like it-I usually prefer squeaky clean romances.

  5. This is an entertaining piece of rom-com fluff, Rachel and I love that about it. It sparkles with humor but if you are looking for a "clean" movie (I know just how you feel), then you will be disappointed in this one. It is much better when viewed edited – it allows the good to come through without the bad hampering the story.

    Great to "see" you on here, Rachel – come by again soon. =)

  6. There are some movies that you get done watching and are just so relieved that you didn't have to wade through all the bad to enjoy it. (This one is cute.) Seriously, a movie can be as cute as all get-outs but when I stop to think about everything that wasn't funny, it really lessens the effect. This, I think would have been one of those – also another one was Just Go with It. I LOVED that movie… edited. I know I wouldn't have liked it half as well had I not seen it that way.

    Oh, believe me, I know how that is. LOL! I usually try to take a couple of days "off" from anything computer-related and then I have to play "catch-up." Ah, well! It is worth it because I enjoy the time away. :-)

    Thank you so much for the award, Lauren – and your kind words! I appreciated it greatly.

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