Movie review: This Means War

By
From the February 16, 2012 edition

INT. 20TH CENTURY FOX OFFICE BUILDING - DAY

Two studio executives, TOM and JIM, wearing suits that cost more than a month of your salary and tipsy from a four-martini lunch, discuss an upcoming project.

TOM
So what do we got for Valentine’s Day week?

JIM
I dunno ... Reese Witherspoon?

TOM
(takes a mean swig of Scotch)
Pshh ... done it.

JIM
You didn’t let me finish. Reese Witherspoon ... with explosions!

TOM
I’m listening.

JIM
So we put Reese in an action movie. Like, I dunno ... she’s a spy or something?

TOM
Or she’s dating a spy? We don’t want her to be too strong of a female lead.

JIM
Good point. Maybe she’s dating ... two spies?

TOM
Yes! Love triangles are huge with that audience. And explosions pull in the knuckledragger demo. I’m already envisioning the trailer.

JIM
Male leads ... we need guys who resonate with the male audience, but aren’t too expensive. Reese ain’t cheap.

TOM
Chris Pine and Tom Hardy?

JIM
Captain Kirk and Bane from “Batman”? Brilliant.

TOM
Test with the male nerd demo. Ladies love ’em both.

JIM
Do you think they’ll actually want a decent script?

TOM
They’re establishing themselves. They don’t care yet.

JIM
Exactly! Now we need a female friend for Reese.

TOM
Chelsea Handler? The female demo loves her because, I dunno, vodka or something?

JIM
(swigs from his Scotch)
Love it. She’ll be benignly snarky but still reinforce all the worst female stereotypes?

TOM
You know it.

JIM
So we just punch together a script with a hackneyed espionage subplot and some awkwardly set-up gag sequences. Maybe one where one of the spies “accidentally” gets shot in the nuts with a paintball gun?

TOM
Exactly. This will be the Adam Sandler movie of Reese Witherspoon movies.

JIM
Oh my god, that sounds so awful! This is going to make so ... much ... bank.

TOM
That’s why they pay us the big bucks, Jimbo.

JIM
You really think people will go for this crap?

TOM
People are suckers, buddy. People are suckers.

(Both laugh heartily.)

FADE OUT