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THIS MEANS WAR ( M)

★ ★ ★ ■

Di­rec­tor: MCG ( Ter­mi­na­tor Sal­va­tion ) Stars: Chris Pine, Tom Hardy, Reese Wither­spoon, Chelsea Han­dler, Til Sch­weiger

This is av­er­age

YIKES! This wonky weld­ing of a chick- flick to a bro- man­tic ac­tion thriller is very much the mess you would as­sume it to be – although it’s not en­tirely un­watch­able when it doesn’t try so hard.

An ill- matched Tom Hardy and Chris Pine play se­cret- agent best bud­dies who fall for the same girl ( Reese Wither­spoon, all pic­tured).

A lot of the hu­mour is not as amus­ing as the writ­ers ob­vi­ously in­tended.

There just aren’t many gags in one guy get­ting all jealous and stalker- ly while the other is out on a date with you- know- who.

The scene where a whole lot of spies are star­ing silently at their sur­veil­lance mon­i­tors as a CCTV- ed Wither­spoon is bed­ding Pine is sim­ply no joke at all.

On the rare oc­ca­sion This Means War does find its comedic mojo, it is Hardy ( best known for his in­tense per­for­mances) who is bring­ing the funny.

The scene where he sin­gle- hand­edly takes over a paint­ball cen­tre is a bril­liant one- off se­quence. So too is Hardy’s court­ing of Wither­spoon on a first date on a cir­cus trapeze.

The guy could have a rom- com worth watch­ing in him in the near fu­ture.

As for Pine, it is not un­fair to sus­pect he only got the gig be­cause Ryan Reynolds was dou­ble- booked.

The brawny ac­tion stuff in This Means War – sans a ditzily wired Wither­spoon, of­ten chan­nelling Sarah Jes­sica Parker and Se­in­feld ’ s Ju­lia Louis- Drey­fus at the same time – goes much bet­ter than the murky mirth- mak­ing.

The cli­mac­tic car chase on an un­fin­ished free­way bridge is a stand- out, as is Hardy and Pine stag­ing a two- man box­ing tour­na­ment in a swank res­tau­rant.

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