Review in a Hurry: Reese Witherspoon has two studs vying for her affection—Chris Pine and Tom Hardy—who are best buds that work for the CIA. The star power elevates this secrets-and-spies affair, but high-octane director McG just can’t let the story breathe. Still, Witherspoon is a delight and those new franchise guys (Pine with Trek 2, Hardy the upcoming Dark Knight sequel) make engaging frenemies.
The Bigger Picture: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Foster (Pine) who goes by—what else?—FDR, can’t believe his partner Tuck (Hardy) has no game with the ladies. Both are attractive, and together are like Mr. & Mr. Smith on the job, but FDR is the one living in a condo that sports a glass ceiling with bikini gals, making FDR the cool one (but not really). Tuck has a wimpy son (but his dad’s a spy!) and no wife.
Lauren is a product evaluator for a leading consumer advocate publication. She’s also attractive, successful and has zero dates. Her pal Trish (Chelsea Handler) signs her up for online dating. Lauren meets Tuck. Sparks fly. Then she goes to a video store (she doesn’t have Netflix?) and meets FDR. Sparks II.
The script by Timothy Dowling and Simon Kinberg doesn’t waste time. The boys make a pact not to tell Lauren they know each other and not to sleep with her. They have no problem, however, bugging Lauren’s home and putting heavy surveillance on each other’s dates.
Director McG (Terminator: Salvation) has toned down his manic editing and loud music cues somewhat, but he’s a lame storyteller. There’s not much interest in what happens next. We’re just rushing from one date to the next as Tuck and FDR sabotage each other with spy planes, tranquilizer darts, etc.
Still, for most of the run time this over-produced adventure works because of the casting. That scene where Lauren’s place is bugged highlights a new Reese: one who shimmies and shakes to the beat of “This Is How We Do It” in her undies with no sense of irony. A stress-free Reese. This moment should be groan-inducing (especially since Cameron Diaz already did this a decade ago in McG’s Charlie’s Angels), but Reese is so light on her feet you just go with it.
In fact, that’s the general feeling while watching this spy vs. spy caper. It’s fairly predictable but extremely watchable. Pine’s Kirkness juts out every now then, with his brazen way with ladies and gadgets. Hardy’s the grounded one. Their male bonding delivers just enough bromance but not at the expense of quality Reese time.
The 180–A Second Opinion: You’ll notice there’s no mention of the action spy stuff. There is a villain (played by Inglourious Basterds’ Til Schweiger) but he’s so minimally used we’re not sure why they even bothered.
GALLERY: 2012 Oscars: Notable Nominees