A mirthless, preening action comedy populated with gorgeous caricatures, This Means War isn’t so much an imitation of life as it is a setpiece-focused aping of other movies that have more sincerely attempted to commingle spy or assassin hijinks, gunplay and romance, like Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Knight & Day, Bad Boys and The Whole Nine Yards. Directed by McG, it’s indefatigably paced but consistently insulting to viewers’ intelligence.
This Means War bears much in common with the slick, colorful fantasy worlds of McG’s Charlie’s Angels movies, as well as work he has overseen on the small screen, like Fastlane, The O.C. and Chuck. The look is polished, and favors kinetic movement and unremarked upon opulence over sense. The action “sizzle” arrives via occasional cheery blasts of brainless, bloodless, consequence-free shootouts, designed so as not to challenge or offend. For the full, original review, from Screen International, click here. (20th Century Fox, PG-13, 97 minutes)