Movie review: This Means War

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

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

"This Means War"

Opens Friday

1 star out of 4