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Film / This Means War (2012)

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This Means War, starring Chris Pine and Tom Hardy, directed by McG and produced by Will Smith, is a 2012 action Romantic Comedy about two CIA agents who accidentally start dating the same girl.

The two agents, Tuck (Tom Hardy) and FDR (Chris Pine) are scouting out a party for a target. This introduces us to the two main characters and their dynamic, which is a typical but adorable pair of good friends. Tuck is much more polite and sweet while FDR is roguish and impulsive. Their targets are two brothers and when a fiery shootout hits, one of the Heinrich brothers, Jonas, is accidentally killed, causing the other, Karl (Til Schweiger), to swear revenge on the two friends.

Meanwhile, a lonely woman named Lauren (Reese Witherspoon) has gotten tired of the single life and her best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler), makes her a profile on a dating site. Similarly, Tuck has had little luck in love as he is divorced and has a child to take care of and so he decides to try the same dating site. He and Lauren meet up on a blind date and hit it off while FDR hangs out in a video store nearby just in case the date goes south and Tuck needs an escape. However, Lauren goes to the video store and FDR, clueless that it’s the same girl Tuck had just gone out with, becomes interested in her as well. Tuck and FDR meet up later at their office only to discover they are dating the same girl. Both men offer to break it off with her because they are friends and do not want to lose their friendship over a girl, but their pride gets the better of them and it becomes a competition to see whom Lauren chooses. As their tempers flare, their friendship starts to fall apart as they get more and more aggressive about trying to get Lauren to fall in love with one of them. All the while, the enraged Karl is closing in and looking for a way to hurt the boys for the death of his brother.

This film contains examples of:

  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: The head of FDR's surveillance team relays a text message Lauren sent to Trish, and spends the rest of the brief scene spelling everything in chat speak until FDR tells him to S-H-H-H-H.
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Agents Dating: The movie is pretty much centered around this. Lauren decides to have sex with two different spies who are pursuing her, to see which one of them is better in bed. After they found they've been sleeping with the same woman, they wage an epic battle against one another.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Accidentally implied with Lauren's choice to date FDR instead of Tuck.
  • Amicably Divorced: Seems to be the case between Tuck and his ex. She's not his biggest fan, but she isn't nasty to him at any point when she comes to pick up their son. It is further enforced by her agreeing to go out to dinner with him after Lauren chooses FDR.
  • And the Adventure Continues: FDR and Tuck talking about FDR's encounter with Tuck's wife (before the couple met) as they begin their next mission.
  • Bad Liar: Tuck and FDR accuse each other of being this when their attempts at keeping their surveillance of Lauren secret from each other fail.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: How Lauren and FDR's relationship starts out.
  • Betty and Veronica: Lauren is torn between the sweet Tuck and the flirtatious FDR.
  • Big Damn Heroes: After Karl kidnaps Lauren and Trish, the boys steal a Jeep and go after them, completely ignoring Karl's demand for them to meet him at an abandoned warehouse.
  • Blatant Lies: Every excuse Tuck and FDR use to convince the surveillance crews to help them spy on Lauren.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. Tuck runs out of ammo in two fight scenes. Both times, FDR passes him a magazine. The second time, he scolds Tuck for not carrying extra magazines like he does.
  • Boyfriend Bluff: How Lauren and FDR eventually reconcile their differences enough to actually date.
  • Bros Before Hoes: In an alternate ending, both Tuck and FDR decide their friendship is more important than who ends up with Lauren.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The over-aggressive father at Tuck's son's karate class. Seriously, who talks shit to Tom Hardy about his kid?
  • Can't Believe I Said That: Lauren's attempt at acting casual, while saying goodbye to her ex-boyfriend and his fiancee whom she just ran into, ends with: "Peace!"
    Lauren: I said "peace." I want to die right now.
  • The Charmer: FDR. Tuck is gorgeous, but not as flirtatious as FDR so he doesn't get noticed as much.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Lauren's extensive knowledge of consumer products pays off when when she tells the boys to shoot the headlamps of a (otherwise bulletproof) car, thereby triggering the airbags. Also, Tuck trusts her to drive the Jeep because he took her driving on one of their dates.
  • Cock Fight: Tuck and FDR try to avoid this for the most part, but the more emotionally invested they become in Lauren, the more they argue and eventually get into a fist fight.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When Tuck decides to try out paintball, he completely demolishes everybody on the field all by himself.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The death of Karl Heinrich's brother Jonas sets him off on revenge.
  • Damsel in Distress: Lauren when Karl catches up to her. Trish too because she happens to be in the same car at the time of the kidnapping.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Both the boys, but FDR moreso than Tuck.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Tuck. Though he reconciles with his ex and they are together at the end.
  • Disney Villain Death: Jonas is killed this way in a fight with FDR.
  • Enhance Button: Played straight when FDR has one of the techs do magic enhancing to reveal the bad guy stalking Tuck.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Karl Heinrich is seeking revenge for the death of his younger brother Jonas.
  • Exact Words: During their first date, Lauren asks Tuck if he's ever killed someone with his bare hands. He says no... not this week.
  • Expy: FDR is unnervingly similar to Chris Pine's portrayal of Jim Kirk in J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: Lauren pulls one with FDR to make her ex jealous. It works. Hilariously.
  • Fanservice: FDR getting shirtless, and later naked, for the girls (and some guys); Lauren in her undies for the guys (and some girls). And Tuck's arms in general make him borderline fanservice too.
  • Flexibility Equals Sex Ability: When Trish makes Lauren's online dating profile, she makes sure to have Lauren's picture in a keg stand so as to show off Lauren's flexibility.
    Trish: You're flexible. Guys wanna know that you're flexible and good at gymnastics!
  • Flipping the Bird: Tuck flips off FDR's surveillance drone.
    "Did he just give our bird the bird?"
  • Freudian Excuse: FDR's parents died in a car accident when he was a kid, and "he was never the same since."
  • Friends Turned Romantic Rivals: The film revolves around two fellow CIA agents and friends, Tuck and FDR, both falling for Lauren. The two compete for Lauren's affections, even using CIA technology in order to best the other. In the end she chooses FDR. However, Tuck gets back together with his ex.
  • Groin Attack: Completely accidental, but Lauren shoots Tuck in the crotch with a paintball gun.
  • Head-Tiltingly Kinky: The agents watching FDR and Lauren imply that the two put on quite a show.
  • Here We Go Again!: The film ends with Tuck and FDR, now engaged to Lauren, on another mission as they prepare to parachute out of a helicopter. FDR confesses to having slept with Katie before she even met Tuck, but no longer feels guilty about it because Tuck had sex with Lauren. Tuck, however, reveals that they did not go all the way and angrily tackles FDR out of the helicopter.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tuck and FDR. Of course, them ending up dating the same woman puts a significant damper on their relationship, but they eventually manage to patch things up during the climax.
    FDR: I missed you!
    Tuck: Missed you, too!
    FDR: I love you, man!
    Tuck: Love you, too!
    FDR: We're back!
  • Hidden Depths: Late in the film, Trish while helping her son with something, tells Lauren how much she loves her husband, and that she shouldn't choose the better man, but rather should pick the man who makes her a better woman.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Played for Laughs. FDR and Tuck are shown engaging in a rather childish argument over Lauren as they prepare to torture one of Karl's associates with pliers.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: FDR comes across as this to Lauren. The viewers know he's a lot sweeter than he lets on, but he doesn't show his nicer side to Lauren until later in the movie.
  • Karma Houdini: FDR and Tuck. They break into Lauren's apartment, tap her phone, set up cameras everywhere, record themselves having sex with her, and place trackers on her. Neither of them face serious consequences for their actions.
  • Letting the Air out of the Band: During a date with Lauren, FDR is trans-darted by Tuck, and the background music ("Sabotage" by Beastie Boys) starts getting slower, and slower, and slower until finally FDR falls unconscious.
  • Liar Revealed: After FDR and Tuck fight in the restaurant, Lauren soon finds out they were both friends and that they didn’t tell her, thus leading to Lauren rejecting both FDR and Tuck at the time believing they were only taking advantage of her by fighting over her for love all along.
    Lauren: I trusted you.
  • Love Triangle: The entire plot of the film, basically.
  • Made of Explodium: During the chase scene, the boys shoot out the SUV's headlights, detonating the airbag and causing the SUV to slam into a stationary object and blow right the Hell up in a fiery explosion. Ford Exploder indeed.
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: Implied to be the reason things didn't originally work out between Tuck and Katie. She warms up to him a lot once she realizes he's not a travel agent.
  • Mr. Fanservice: Tom Hardy. Chris Pine. In one movie. AT THE SAME TIME.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Whatever happened in Kandahar, mentioned briefly during a fight.
    • Also, whatever happened in Bangladesh.
  • The Obi-Wannabe: Lauren most likely wouldn't be in this mess if she weren't following Trish's horrible excuse for guidance.
  • The Oner: The scene with the boys setting up their surveillance cameras in Lauren's home while she dances in and out of the room is all one take.
  • Only Known by Initials: FDR Foster, obviously. Also somewhat of a Shout-Out to former U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was also known by that moniker (his full name is "Franklin Delano Roosevelt Foster"... you'd call yourself FDR too).
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: A very odd example with Tuck; Tom Hardy uses his native British accent throughout the film, but once he starts yelling at FDR in the final scene his accent goes completely off the rails and becomes almost unintelligible. There are also a couple of other brief moments throughout the film where he slips into the fake American accent that he's used in other films for a word or two.
  • Playing Drunk: The boys try this to catch a bad guy who knows Karl Heinrich.
  • Pair the Spares:
    • Tuck and his ex get back on good terms by the end of the film after Lauren chooses FDR.
    • Alternately, in one of the alternate endings, FDR gets back with his flight attendant female friend... and her female co-worker.
  • Running Gag: "Stop repeating everything that I say!"
  • Shirtless Scene: FDR has a couple, but oddly, Tuck does not.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Trish, played by Chelsea Handler, takes over every scene she's in and makes it hard to realize Lauren is even there. This is mostly due to Handler's outrageously over-the-top lines.
  • So Much for Stealth: The boys are really not good with keeping their missions covert. Averted with the scene of them setting up surveillance in Lauren's house, as she walks past them multiple times but remains blissfully unaware of their presence.
    The Chief: [brings a picture of a body resting on a crushed car up on a screen] This was supposed to be a covert mission.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Both of the men vying for Lauren dance into this trope.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: The scene of the boys giving orders to their respective surveillance crews.

Alternative Title(s): This Means War