The poster promises spy FDR (Chris Pine) against spy Tuck (Tom Hardy) as they fight over love interest Lauren (Reese Witherspoon), and it delivers; while it might not be the most serious or complex of films, it is a fun way to spend an afternoon if you don’t mind the lack of really being spies, the predictability, or the excess of good-looking people. (Chris Pine’s face and Tom Hardy’s accent, what’s not to like?)
I give it 4/5. A fun film, if predictable, but it’s hard to get past the problems and give it a 5; they essentially stalk her, she doesn’t handle the situation all that well herself, and the subplot feels like it’s only really there to put her in danger.
It opens with a covert mission, the first of only two times that they actually act as spies, and the first of two not-at-all-covert action scenes. In their capable hands – Tuck apparently never has enough ammunition – they not only inadvertently kill someone, but get themselves both grounded (stuck behind desks with nothing to do) and targeted by the brother of their victim.
Lauren is the usual boss who needs reminding that this weekend is a holiday weekend, who goes to the gym and is well-known in her local sushi place for always ordering for one. When she sees her ex (Warren Christie), who apparently never go anywhere without his fiancée, she re-evaluates her life with her outspoken, sex-obsessed, drink-toting best friend Trish (Chelsea Handler), whose solution is to create a profile for her on a dating website – the same website that Tuck has just discovered.
She and Tuck hit it off, but having made no plans for the evening she goes to the nearby video store for a film where she meets FDR, who had agreed to be there as backup should Tuck need him. After she shoots down his advances and teaches him that he doesn’t know as much about women as he thinks he does, he decides that the thing to do is embarrass her at work and get her to go on a date with him. Of course it is.
Spy against spy
On finding out they’re dating the same woman they strike a gentleman’s agreement that they will let her choose. Of course, if they did that, it wouldn’t be much of a film, so instead they both go after her – sabotaging each other as necessary and all but forgetting about the suddenly minor subplot that someone’s out to kill them.
They begin using all the spy resources available to them to perform background checks on her, to bug her house, and to get all the information they can; they tell the agents they get to help them that it’s “confidential” and that “the Patriot Act trumps constitutional rights”, even while acknowledging that what they’re doing is creepy as well as romantic – although it’s really just creepy.
Just as well Lauren never actually finds out about all the surveillance they have on her – being too engrossed in dancing around the house singing to loud music to even notice them both in her house planting bugs – as Bella Swan is probably the only other person that would find it romantic.
She isn’t completely innocent herself; although she hesitates, it doesn’t take too much encouragement from Trish to make her go ahead and lead them both on.
She makes her decision just in time for the bad guy to catch up with them and kidnap her and Trish for leverage, leading to the second and final big action scene, the requisite car chase featuring high speeds, shooting and explosions that the Mythbusters would have a field day with.
Finding themselves cornered, FDR and Tuck resort to shooting at the bad guys’ car until it overturns (it’s bulletproof, but it’s okay, she knows how to destroy it) and comes towards them… in slow motion, so Lauren can realise she’s directly in its path and needs to decide which side of the road (FDR or Tuck) to run to.
A silly romp of course needs a happy ending, and if only one guy can get the girl? The other can get back together with his ex-wife, who must have broken up with him for some reason but thinks he’s the perfect father for their child now she knows he’s a spy.
If you’re looking for some slightly predictable fun, enjoy pretty people (and/or British accents), and can look past the immorality of what they do, it’s a nice 95 minutes of silliness.
If you prefer more shootouts, actual violence (and spying) and even a war, then it may only be something to suffer through for your girlfriend.
DISCLAIMER: This was originally written as part of a university assessment; I didn’t plagiarise it from here and didn’t post it until after the work was returned.