Monday, February 20
REVIEW: This Means War
Directed by McG
1 hour 38 minutes
From 20th Century Fox
This is just between you and me, ok? If you tell anyone I saw this horrible movie, lose my blog address. We are history.
I knew it was a mistake before we ever left the house. Yet there I was in a sea of 14/15 year old girls... in pairs, in threesomes, all giggling, running to their seats (like five-year olds) in all different locations and then yelling out to one another. There were very few boys (and zero old people except two... and one is writing this blog). There was one girl with a boy who sought privacy in the top/back row and every pod of young girls constantly turned around to see what this couple was up to. Then one by one these young things quivered and snickered and spazzed out in their seats. It was then I was certain things would only get worse. And they did.
Let's just cut to the chase. This is a pretty horrible movie. One of the notions I fancy about writing this blog is that I might get people out to the movies or at least watch more of them and take another look at some they liked. And there are many people who haven't been to a movie theater in years, which makes me sad. But if this is the kind of junk that's being passed off as a good film, good entertainment, I don't blame you folks for staying home.
You have come to learn that I am pretty lavish with the praise. When I like something or someone, I use words like love and favorite a great deal and you can well imagine me drooling on the keyboard. Here then, spend a few minutes with my other side.
Romantic comedy is a term that makes my skin crawl but it has a twin called action comedy. (Admittedly, I think many comedies, in general, are sophomoric and dim-witted.) Do action and comedy just not mix? Is that the simple answer? Why are they usually soooo bad? I thought the Pitt-Jolie Mr. and Mrs. Smith was pretty good for the action comedy genre, but This Means War is absolutely a new low.
I really resist telling you a single thing about the story because it will be a precious period of time you will never get back. Ever so briefly a horny, young nitwit meets two handsome hunks, one on a dating service and one at a bookstore. They are both not only CIA operatives (uh-huh, I believed it all the way), but neither knows the other one is dating her and they are friends who happen to sit across from one another on the job.
Yes, there are bad guys, a car crash, explosions, genitalia jokes, a potty-mouthed friend to guide her on relieving horniness, fights, male posturing (for this the film deserves its one star; without the male-posturing, this could have been a no-star). Oh brother, now I fear I have let the cat out of the bag on why I went to see it in the first place. Sometimes I'm just into indiscriminate.... um, moviegoing.
What there isn't is good writing, directing or acting. The writing is trite and cliched and just plain embarrassing. And the direction... what is a McG anyway and why didn't he get a handle on this train wreck?
Here's a little mini-quiz for you. Ready? Katharine Hepburn, Jessica Lange, Susan Hayward, Elizabeth Taylor, Meryl Streep, Bette Davis, Marion Cotillard, Vivien Leigh, Reese Witherspoon. What do they all have in common? You know. They've ALL been Oscar's best actress. Reese Witherspoon...! In that group? Are you kidding me?
Ok, I liked her well enough in I Walk the Line and I sat up straight for the recent Water for Elephants. But would an actress, serious about her craft, her profession, her future, follow up with drek like this? Her acting here and throughout most of her history has been exactly like the young girls in the theater today... silly, no polish, totally into hair and nails. Isn't that why they populate her films? She's one of them... just so oh golly and my gosh and gee whiz more famous, that's all. The notion that two hunks like Chris Pines and Tom Hardy would fall all over themselves like tomcats to get to this femme fatale is simply ludicrous. Being blonde and bubbly and gushing at every adjective in a sentence is more fatal than fatale.
The guys fared about the same. Their jobs were to have a bromance, look GQey and run and jump. When they kissed Reese, my homegirls audibly sighed their little hearts out. Angela Bassett, what are you doing in this wretched movie? You are one of the golden ones of acting. You shoulda said no.
With better technical credits and maybe a Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, this type of film could have been a stylish caper sort of romp. This Means War (c'mon, even that title is cheesy) ought to set back all their careers. I wonder what they saw in this script that made them sign on. Might they have filmed something different from what they originally read? Was it just all about the money? Wonder how much it costs to sully your reputation.
What they say about those 15-year old girls is the truth, you know. The movie moguls know it, too. They are the ticket buyers today. Well, them... and two old guys sitting in the middle of it all.
Here are the answers to last Friday's quiz:
1) The Sound of Music
2) People Will Say We're in Love (Oklahoma)
3) State Fair
6) It's A Grand Night for Singing (State Fair)
7) Ray Walston (South Pacific)
9) Mitzi Gaynor and Julie Andrews
11) Climb Ev'ry Mountain (The Sound of Music)
12) The King and I
13) South Pacific
14) The Sound of Music
15) They didn't do their own singing
16) Nancy Kwan (Flower Drum Song)
17) Younger than Springtime (South Pacific)
18) The King and I
19) State Fair
20) Flower Drum Song
21) Juanita Hall was in both South Pacific and Flower Drum Song
22) Shall We Dance (The King and I)
23) State Fair
24) If I Loved You (Carousel)
25) Yul Brynner (The King and I)
NEXT POSTING: Favorite Films