Awards Season is now well and truly over, so if you’ve been waiting for one of the year’s guilty pleasures, then wait no longer, it has arrived.
A film that encourages you to laugh at it, as much as with it, This Is War takes a ludicrous premise, and does increasingly ludicrous things with it. What more could you want?
Reese Witherspoon may be the one with the Oscar on her mantelpiece, but it’s the two male leads that steal the show. She opts for the more-OTT-the-better approach to comedy, which rarely works. It doesn’t here, as she’s clearly unaware that she’s in the straight role. The boys, however, play it relatively straight, and are funnier for it. One scene in particular, which involves Hardy taking paintballing just that little bit too seriously, is properly laugh-out-loud hilarious.
Yes, it’s a throwaway piece of trash that’s predictable, with a rather obvious sense of humour, but if you’ve come here for subtlety, then you’re the fool. The film ups the spectacle, all the while maintaining the laughs and keeping the action coming. There’s a little bit of sag at the transition into the final act, but that’s a minor gripe if you want a completed story arc.
If the film hits a duff note, it’s probably thanks to Chelsea Handler. Anyone who has seen her TV chat show would know she just isn’t funny. So she’s taken the same schtick (and as far as I can tell, the same writers) and dropped it in this film, passing it off as the ballsy/ kooky/ contradictory best friend. Her character isn’t a dislikable one, and she does provide a laugh or two, but her dialogue is atrocious, the apparently hilarious one-liners proving anything but.
I laughed and smiled throughout and whilst I wouldn’t rush to see it again, I’ll no doubt be flicking channels one day, see this is on, and next thing I know I’ll likely have watched it to the end.