Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic, editor of Movie City News and a contributing editor of Filmmaker magazine. He is also a photographer: his history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images is forthcoming. Check a few signs on Twitter (@chighostsigns) as well as daily photography on Instagram (instagram.com/raypride). Twitter: @RayPride. (Photo: Jorge Colombo.)
A candy bar of a film, “This Means War” is a buddy comedy about two hotshot CIA operatives dating the same woman. FDR (Chris Pine, “Unstoppable,” “Star Trek”) and Tuck (Tom Hardy, “Warrior,” “Inception”) enter and exit this no-nutrient “action-comedy” on high-risk missions. In between they compete to date Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), who runs focus groups on consumer products. The workplace partners run competing intel-gathering operations to uncover her love life. They deploy all the resources of the CIA’s Los Angeles office to invade Lauren’s privacy and increase their respective odds of scoring with, while sabotaging one another’s dates with her. It’s OK: Patriot Act, they lie to their coworkers. McG (“Terminator: Salvation,” two “Charlie’s Angels”) directs a juvenile screenplay by Timothy Dowling and Simon Kinberg. In the supporting cliché of the single gal’s sidekick, Trish (Chelsea Handler) is the wise horny pragmatist with kids who upstages her pal and makes “This Means War” watchable when she is around. With John Paul Ruttan, Abigail Spencer, Angela Bassett, Rosemary Harris, George Touliatos, Til Schweiger. 96m. (Bill Stamets)
“This Means War” opens Friday.