IN BETWEEN bringing big-budget series to the small screen (SUPERNATURAL, NIKITA, CHUCK, THE OC), director-producer Joseph McGinty Nichol – or McG, as he likes to be known – prefers to go larger (and louder) in the multiplexes.
After famously rebooting the CHARLIE’S ANGELS franchise (twice), then the Terminator brand (with 2009’s TERMINATOR SALVATION), the director-producer here tries his hand at a curious action-comedy-romance. We get two fast-rising stars, with WARRIOR’s Tom Hardy and STAR TREK’s Chris Pine; an always-reliable Reese Witherspoon (above), as the subject of their mutual affections; and a no-nonsense voice of reason, in the shape of comic chat-show doyenne, Chelsea Handler.
The men are Foster (Pine) and Tuck (Hardy): two CIA operatives sparring after a chance meeting with the sweet Lauren (Witherspoon). Their friendship is soon left in tatters, since neither are able (or willing) to withdraw from a race to win her over in record time. Only a dastardly group of Russians – on a suitably covert mission – can bring them back together.
McG’s film ticks the expected action boxes easily enough – guns, explosions and others big stunts all appear to go off like clockwork – but, as per usual, it’s not designed to be taken remotely seriously. It’s hard to buy a pair of agents agreeing to such a challenge, after all, let alone a pair of competing actors clearly vying for audience affection (never mind about Lauren). Stranger still, a constant dig aimed at Tuck (for being British) seems more than a little jingoistic. The actors claim to have enjoyed it. Handler is the highlight (by a mile).
Critical Rating: 3/5.
First published in The National.