This Means War
Reese Witherspoon, Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Chelsea Handler PG-13 |
The trouble with this particular romantic comedy is that there’s a woman in it. When best friends-secret agents FDR (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy) meet consumer-products tester Lauren (Witherspoon), they realize almost immediately that they’re dating the same person but vow not to tell her they know. What they end up doing to each other is legitimately hilarious, pulling out their most creative spy versus spy ammo to sabotage each other’s dates. But what they do to Lauren is so unfathomably, unpardonably creepy, it should be prosecuted.
We’re talking full surveillance, with FDR and Tuck slithering into Lauren’s apartment (while she’s in it) to plant bugs and cameras, then assigning teams to analyze her most intimate moments. This, while Lauren confides to her sharply funny best friend Trish (Handler) that’s she’s finally in control of her love life. (Silly female!) Throughout the gratingly sexist antics (and, admittedly, riotous dates), it’s clear that War’s deepest affection is between FDR and Tuck-which brings me back to my original idea: a rom-com with just Pine and Hardy. I’d pay double to see that.
Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga | R |
If you squint and cock your head just so, you can almost … actually, no. There’s no resemblance between Washington and Liam Neeson, but they are after the same roles. This time it’s Washington’s turn to play a mature gent who’s a master with gun and fist. He’s rogue spy Tobin Frost, in the custody of Reynolds’s rookie agent Matt Weston, when their South African safe house is attacked, sending them on the run. Matt has to decide whether to trust his bosses, one of whom could be a traitor, or Frost, a known manipulator. The Bourne-lite plot may not be logical, but it lets Reynolds play nicely clueless, while the coolly capable Washington just plays. Clearly this is a man loving his second act.